Education issues as seen from a father's eyes.
By Carl J. Petersen
I am growing really tired of your comments. You rarely add anything constructive to a conversation, and I'm about at the end of the line letting you use our site to bash us time and again.
I've indulged your comments more than any other reader, especially in your efforts to use LA School Report as an extension of whatever campaign you mounted for the school board.
If you want to trash me and LA School Report on your own blog or Twitter account or wherever, that's fine. I don't care. But I am no longer going to abide by your using my website as a repository for your slings and arrows.
And so it has come to this: If you want to offer an opposing argument to a subject, fine. But if your words are framed around accusations of bias or unfairness or belittlement, they will come down, and I will block all further comments from you.”
- Michael Janofsky, LA School Report
To give credit where credit is due, the LA School Report (LASR) is the best source of news in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Unfortunately, their coverage is tainted by a subtle but distinct bias for those who would like to privatize our public education system. Their refusal to acknowledge this slant make them the district’s version of Fox News and their claim of being “fair and balanced.”
“Pupils, school personnel, classroom, special programs or other activities, regardless of their funding source, are not subject to visitation observation or any other external attention without the school administrator’s endorsement.”
- Derek Horowitz, Principal, Nobel Charter Middle School
The problems that I had been hearing about Nobel Middle School were confirmed when I wrote The Administrator Who Stole Christmas. Shortly after I published this piece, the head of their charter board complained about the general accuracy of the piece - but despite being asked, he never offered a specific correction; he would only say that most parents were happy with the school. Instead, he seemed more interested in knowing which parent had provided me with the information. I was taken aback when his response to my refusal to name my source was to start listing parents who he thought were responsible. He referred to them as his few “disgruntled parents.” Interestingly, his list did not include the actual person.
This is not how I want my representative on the LAUSD School Board to behave. Tamar Galatzan should be ashamed.
Tamar Galatzan spent $24.51 per vote and is still facing a runoff. While not on the ballot, I’ll still be fighting for the LAUSD’s students.Read more
Last December, FBI agents “seized 20 boxes of documents related to LAUSD’s trouble iPad program.” Yesterday, an ethics complaint was filed against Board member Tamar Galatzan alleging that she used district resources in her campaign for re-election. Similar charges were leveled against her during her failed run for a seat on the City Council. Today the district and its interim Superintendent were named “in a new lawsuit that includes explosive new assertions sure to cause anger, embarrassment and disruptions at district headquarters.” The suit includes charges of “sexual harassment, retaliation, discrimination and failure to take all steps necessary to stop harassment and retaliation.” If Tamar Galatzan thinks that this is the direction in which the LAUSD should be headed, I would hate to see what she considers failure.Read more
Los Angeles Unified’s troubled iPad project and former superintendent are framing discussions in the March 3 school board primary.
Among three contested seats, two-term incumbent Tamar Galatzan faces five challengers quick to point out her past support for former Superintendent John Deasy in their bids for the District 3 seat that represents parts of the western and southern San Fernando Valley.
One of Galatzan’s most outspoken opponents, Carl Petersen, highlights Galatzan’s support for what once was a $1.3 billion effort to put iPads in the hands of every student as well as for Deasy, who abruptly resigned in October.
“She’s lost touch with the people she represents; you just have to go to one of the board meetings,” said Petersen, an LAUSD parent who heads logistics for a Glendale-based manufacturing company.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office and FBI are probing iPad contracting procedures for criminal wrongdoing in the process that tapped Apple to supply devices and Pearson, an educational company, to create content.
Petersen questions the use of bond dollars, which voters approved as a means to improve schools, to buy the devices. He would prefer the money be spent on school computer labs.
–Dr. Kevin Maxwell
Children with special needs deserve the chance to be integrated into society. The days of hiding them away should be relegated to the past and every effort given to accommodate them. However, this should be done for their benefit, not ours. They should also be provided with the opportunity to retreat to a safe place when they become overwhelmed. In the LAUSD, these safe places are the special education centers. These are truly special schools where the most fragile of our students can have their unique needs addressed in a stimulating and accepting environment with trained professionals.
Unfortunately, the LAUSD has an unacknowledged, but readily apparent, plan to close down the special education centers. Parents are reporting that the district is depriving them of their final say in education decisions for their children by not making these schools available during the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) process and intimidating those who push for the choice. As a result, the populations of these schools are steadily decreasing. Instead, these students are being forced into mainstream schools that are ill-equipped to handle their needs. These are students that need intensive assistance and at some point one of them is going to get lost in the shuffle of a general education campus and this will result in a tragedy. The district needs to reverse course before this happens.Read more
As the city's March 3 primary election draws near, Los Angeles Unified school board candidates are blasting incumbents for the controversial iPad program.
Opponents sharply criticized the $1.3 billion bond-funded program at a debate Tuesday in West San Fernando Valley, where District 3 school board member Tamar Galatzan was elected in 2007.
"Galatzan said the district is going in the right direction," declared candidate Carl Petersen, a parent and businessman. "I don’t know how anyone can look at the events of the past year and come to that conclusion."
[Galatzan's] challengers, meanwhile, push hard on her support of the iPads — an effort that Deasy called a civil rights imperative.
Carl J. Petersen faulted the use of school construction bonds to buy the devices. The parent of five also prefers well-stocked computer labs to the purchase for each student of what he called a "glorified toy."
Read the full story at http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-lausd-election-20150220-story.html#page=1
Seven years ago NBC4 reported that aging pipes and water fountains were leaching lead particles into the drinking water at LAUSD facilities. In response, the district instituted a water-wasting “flushing policy” that required schools to run “every fountain ‘a minimum of 30 seconds’ before school each day.’” This was supposed to be a “stop-gap measure” until the district could replace the lead fixtures or install filters. Despite assurances that “the health and safety of our students is a priority,” these repairs have only been made at one school.Read more