Education issues as seen from a father's eyes.
By Carl J. Petersen
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
Another candidate for District 3 is Carl Petersen, who clearly understands that Galatazan "doesn't pay attention to her constituency, " but rather has no problem getting lost in her iPad during public comments at the board meetings- clearly, her mind is already made up and she's just going through the motions.
Petersen got into this because of a personal interest in special needs students who the district continues to either ignore or underserve. In Petersen's systematic approach to this issue, he has shown a rational approach that can easily be translated into other areas where the district and more specifically the LAUSD Board have consistently missed the boat.
Whether it's viable alternatives to college careers or "classes structured for STEM, but not interest, Petersen clearly understands that the district's top/down model has no place for individual needs in a system where there is never an "independent justification" for what the board does and why.
In my e-mail, I also ask Petersen if he will have time for a phone-interview. He responds back within 8 minutes with his phone number and an invitation to call him, although he has a meeting at 11. I respond to him that I am in class until 10:50 and ask for another time, and he assures me that he will e-mail me after his meeting. I can’t help but notice that he signs his e-mails simply with his first name as “Carl”, despite my formal address to him as “Mr. Petersen.”
I seem to be checking my phone more often as I casually open Google to begin researching this friendly and prompt Mr. Carl Petersen.
The father of five decided to run after spending two days at LAUSD headquarters fighting with district lawyers for the services two of his children need because they suffer from disorders in the autistic spectrum. While campus-based educators agreed Petersen’s children needed the support, he said, district higher-ups didn’t agree.
“During those two days, I said, ‘Something has to change; parents need a say,’ and I decided I was going to step up and run,” Petersen said.
Petersen also believes the cure to many of LAUSD’s woes is more local control. But rather than break up the district, he said, LAUSD needs to set clear expectations and let educators decide how they’re best achieved.
“You have to let teachers do their thing. They’re professionals; that’s why we hired them,” said Petersen, who heads up logistics for a company that manufactures surveillance cameras.
Posted on February 13, 2015 12:28 pm
Petersen spent a lot of the night criticizing Galatzan. He said the board failed to successfully oversee Deasy, was strongly against the iPad program — even belittling it at times...He also said teacher jail was overused.
On the issue of teacher vs. reform, he said he would be a representative of parents. He was the only candidate to bring up MiSiS, the district’s troubled computer system, and criticized the district for going forward with it when MiSiS was “not ready for prime-time.”
Read the full story at http://laschoolreport.com/packed-stage-empty-house-district-3-game-show-debate/