MiSiS Crisis II: The Educational Deprivations Continue?

Alameda County Judge George Hernandez Jr. ruled that students ‘have suffered and continue to suffer severe and pervasive educational deprivations’ as the ‘direct result of Jefferson's failure to provide the students with appropriate course schedules.’"

-LA Times, October 8, 2014

As the students of the LAUSD approach their first day of school, district officials have sought to reassure the public that last year’s MiSiS Crisis will not be repeated. While admitting that “the $133.6-million computer program still isn’t fully functional” they told the Los Angeles Daily News in July “that placing students in the proper classes won’t be a problem this year.” Included in the steps being taken to ensure that the nation’s second largest school district will not be plunged into “MiSiS caused chaos” again was an assurance that they would “stop updating the system’s software for nearly a week before and after campuses open” on August 18.

Unfortunately, that plan seems to have been abandoned as the first bell of the school year approaches. With “about 319 known issues” still facing the system on August 13, the district’s Chief Executive Officer of Strategic Planning and Digital Innovation (fit that title on a name plate) was bragging that they would “be dealing with about 100 of those issues just tonight,” leaving just six days to find any cascading flaws that these changes may cause. This is exactly what caused the problems when the system was initially implemented.

The district has a lot of work to do to fulfill their promise that “class schedules and attendance programs will be up and running when the first bell rings.” As of August 6, MiSiS was showing that “14,107 students still do not have schedules.” However, according to the LAUSD, that is good news as “the fact that we know there are that many students without schedules actually shows that MiSiS is working.” The LA School Report also reminds us that 14,107 students “is ONLY about two percent of the entire school population.” (emphasis mine)

While the LASR may be comfortable with the potential of two percent of the district’s students starting school without a schedule, it actually represents a problem that is double the size of what the LAUSD reported last year. Amid the chaos, on August 15, 2014, the District released a News Statement that reported that “more than 99 percent of LAUSD students [were] registered and in class” and that MiSiS was “being fine-tuned.” To date, that fine tuning has cost taxpayers more than $100 million. With that high a price tag, our students deserve more than assurances; they deserve results.