Who's In Charge?

I can’t remember the last time we got an update on the program...and we don’t supervise anyone who works for the superintendent, which is who was running it

- Tamar Galatzan

The LAUSD tells parents that they have the responsibility to ensure that “their child attends school every day, on time, and is ready to learn.” Unfortunately, the district does not seem to place a priority on ensuring that the schools are ready to receive them. Our students returned to school this week to find a “slew of problems with the district’s new student management computer system.” With the district relying on the untested My Integrated Student Information System (MiSiS), it’s failure resulted in a wasted instructional time for thousands of students.

At Taft High School in Woodland Hills at 9 o’clock this morning, there were close to 400 students, still sitting, waiting for classes, and a long line out the door

We have students that came to school the first day with no classes, 2 or 3 classes and a number of [kids] that [signed] up for music but got art. Signed up [for] specific math and science courses but...got other classes that they didn’t need or had [already] completed

The confusion with the kids and parents, not knowing what your classes were (or where to go)...the office was trying to make people feel better by letting them know that at a nearby school...the system locked everyone out, so the kids sat in the auditorium the first day of school.”

The district seemed oblivious to the extent of the problems as the system fell apart. They released a statement proclaiming that “the new MISIS system is working at the overwhelming majority of LAUSD schools” and characterized the needed changes to the program as “fine-tuning.” Even as they locked the teachers out of the system, they maintained that “glitches have affected less than 1 percent of students overall.” While online watchdogs were warning of the brewing storm last weekend, board of education member Tamar Galatzan said on friday that she “had no inkling that the system wasn’t ready to go live.”

On Friday, Ms. Galatzan announced that she is calling on the district to investigate “who’s responsible for” the problems with this system. To save the district the money it will cost to conduct, I’ll provide the answer for free:  the buck stops with Superintendent Deasy.

There is no excuse for the board not knowing that this system was being “put into place without a backup.” Unfortunately, instead of providing proper oversight of the Superintendent, Ms. Galatzan has focused her attention on attacking critics of his programs. For example, she voted three times to keep Stuart Magruder off of the Bond Oversight Committee because he questioned the district spending $1 billion of construction bond funds to purchase iPads. This culture of intimidation and bullying has become common place in the LAUSD and discourages people from speaking up when the district is on a path to failure. Perhaps, if it did not exist, all students could have been in class on Tuesday ready to learn and the schools would have been prepared to teach them.