Parental Engagement

By Carl J. Petersen

Education issues as seen from a father's eyes.

Saving Money by Shortchanging a Special Education

For 13 years [we have] known what we should do for Special Education and we have ignored it as a district.”

-Ramon C. Cortines, LAUSD Superintendent

It cannot be denied that Special Education costs a lot of money. In fact, the Independent Financial Review Panel says that it “is one of the fastest growing parts of the LAUSD budget.” When done well, Special Education can be labor intensive, requiring classrooms with extremely low staff-to-student ratios and sometimes even more one-on-one time. Experts in speech and occupational therapy are needed to fortify regular instructional time. The District must make accommodations so that those with physical disabilities can have full access to school facilities. Transportation is needed to get students to the schools that provide their required programs. These services do not come cheap, but they are all essential components to provide a Special Education.

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A Parent's Evaluation of the LAUSD Charter School Division

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LAUSD: Rescind the TFA contract

Sign The Petition Here (Even if you do not live in Los Angeles): LAUSD: Rescind the TFA Contract

Cancel the contract that pays Teach for America (TFA) to recruit untrained interns to teach our vulnerable special education students. Identify reputable programs to recruit graduates and student teachers who are committed to the teaching profession, to our schools and our students.

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Saving Summer?

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Tax Spending Without Representation

 GHCHS.jpgCharter schools allow parents, teachers and the community to transform our public school system.”

-California Charter School Association

As Eli Broad prepares to implement his plan “to reach 50 percent charter market share” within the LAUSD, now is the time for Angelenos to begin asking what this privately controlled system would look like. While Broad claims that his takeover of public education will bring an “expansion of high-quality charter schools in Los Angeles,” is there any proof that existing charter schools have reached this standard of excellence? Do charter schools help to “ensure that no Los Angeles student remains trapped in a low-performing school,” or would this expanded network of publicly funded private schools continue to cherry-pick the easiest to teach students who are more likely to increase their school’s reported test scores. Most importantly, do these schools actually want “parents [who] are effectively engaged” or will their right to elect representatives to the governing boards be revoked once these schools are established?

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An Attempt At Engagement Falls Flat

 

Sign.jpgThe best way to predict the future is to create it

Steve Zimmer and George McKenna made clear where their loyalties lie when they joined Monica Garcia and Ref Rodriguez to block public access to the finalists in the search for a new Superintendent. At the October 13th Board meeting, Monica Ratliff proposed a resolution that would have made “the finalists public, but her effort failed.” With Scott Schmerelson and Richard Vladovic voting “yes,” only one more vote was needed to ensure an open process. Despite the significant support that both Zimmer and McKenna have received from the supporters of public education in past elections, neither felt that the public deserved a final say on who will be the next leader of  our district.

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$1 Billion

Rafe Esquith “wants to shut down teacher jail. Mostly he wanted to teach. That’s not going to happen anymore not at Hobart, not by L.A.Unified and he wants to never let this happen to any teacher again.”

-Mark Geragos

When it comes to Rafe Esquith, the LAUSD is in a no-win situation. Eventually, the public will be presented with the evidence that the District has dug up against the famed teacher and the court of public opinion will decide if he should have been removed from the classroom. If the public agrees that the District’s actions were correct, the LAUSD will need to explain why it took them 30 years to find that Esquith was unfit for the classroom. However, a finding that he was framed will expose another instance of bullying by the District and they will owe the current students of Hobart Elementary School an explanation for why they were deprived of the experience of being Hobart Shakespeareans. The 640,000 students of the LAUSD will also want to know why over $1 billion meant for their education is being jeopardized by this behavior.

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For Once, The Local Media Uncovers The LAUSD Wizard

It is clear to all present that which you have pointed out. I would sarcastically compare you to Sherlock Holmes, were I the type, but suffice it to say, sir, that you are a dullard.

-Matt E.

In reporting on Racy Film Sets, KNBC found that the LAUSD is a “school system lacking oversight,” that obtaining information from the District requires “fighting for access to public records” and exceptions will be made to a policy prohibiting the disruption of “any school instructional program...in exchange for additional donations.” For readers of the Parental Engagement blog, these stories are not new. My campaign for LAUSD School Board was based on bringing accountability to the District. The Office of the General Counsel has blocked or stonewalled my attempts to gather information about the forced departure of David Binkle and Disruptive Parent Letters. Blogs about the California Charter Schools Association and Eli Broad have shown how they have been able to spread their resources, either through campaign spending or in restricted donations to the District, to take control of the LAUSD. KNBC: welcome to the party. Where have you been?

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Attempting to Obtain Information Through a Looking-Glass

Everything you know is wrong

Black is white, up is down and short is long

-Weird Al Yankovic

When I was a student, 44 was definitely larger than ten; I am sure of it. I did not fail math until I reached Calculus Three in college and in all the classes before that, 44 was the larger number. However, according to the LAUSD, this is not longer the case.

The LAUSD’s Office of the General Counsel (OGC) freely admits that they “had ten days from receipt of [my] email to determine whether [my] request, in whole or in part, asked for disclosable public records.” According to my calculations, their e-mail on September 21, notifying me that “the records you have requested are exempt from disclosure” was provided 44 days after my initial request. Still, they maintain that “there was no delay in responding to [my] request.” Common Core has sure made math confusing! Perhaps I need to show my work in order for the law to be followed.

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“Golden” Granada Hills Charter High School: Scofflaws When It Comes to California Ed Code?

Per GHCHS Board Policy, all students must participate fully in California CAASPP and Granada Testing in their 9th, 10th and 11th grade year to be eligible to participate in optional activities such as senior activities, school extracurricular activities and school athletics (GHCHS Parent-Student Handbook).

-Granada Hills Charter High School


If you had your car stolen and then saw it being driven on the streets, your first call would probably be to the local police department. It would not be unreasonable for you to expect that these trained professionals would take care of the situation by confronting the driver and taking appropriate action. But what would you think if they instead told you that it was your responsibility to find out why the person was driving your car? This is essentially what the LAUSD’s Charter Schools Division (CSD) does in handling complaints.

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