Archive for the ‘Good Ideas’Category

The LAUSD Dinosaur: Dismantling The Economics Of Scale

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) The only justification that I have ever heard for the continued existence of LAUSD is the economics of scale. Simply stated, this is the notion that larger organizations can buy goods and services for significantly less money than smaller organizations, because of the quantity and consequential discounts they are able to get because of their size.You can see this principle in practice in a companies like Costco or Home Depot, where these companies abilities to buy larger quantities for less gives them a significantly lower unit cost, which ultimately gives them a market advantage over smaller businesses whose unit costs are higher. At LAUSD, the second largest school district in the country, where economics of scale should thrive, nothing could be further from their daily reality, since the majority of what they purchase is acquired from "agreed upon vendors," whose status as such insulates them from market competition that might ultimately have given them lower costs in educating students. In addition, not only does LAUSD not benefit from the economics of scale, they rather incorporate the worst ills of any too-large organization that suffers from the lack of coordinated management that comes from being so very large, cumbersome, and unaccountable. Cue the dinosaur business model.

15 REASONS REFORMERS ARE LOOKING TO FINLAND - CLEARLY LAUSD IS NOT

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) Thirty years ago, Finland's education system was in the same sorry state that America's is today. It was mediocre and inequitable and relied on many of the same measures of success that we use here, like standardized testing and teacher tracking. Teachers had varying degrees of education and students didn't have access to equal education resources. They've managed to change all of that in just a few decades. Regardless of whether the U.S. can import some of what makes Finland's schools so successful, they can get hope from the rapid changes to the Finnish education system that show the true and lasting impact smart reforms can have on a country's educational potential.

10

09 2013

5th Annual Media Reform Summit: Media for the 99%

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The Occupy Movement has taken the country by storm, changing the dialogue everywhere from the presidential primaries to kitchen tables. People are talking about economic inequality and power concentrated in the hands of a few -- and they're looking for solutions. Social media and alternative media have aided the movement, providing a wake up call to the unfair advantage wealthy individuals and corporations hold over regular citizens in the political process and mass media environment. We want to explore these ideas with you at our 5th Annual Media Reform Summit: Media for the 99%. You'll learn how to make new kinds of media work for campaigns, sift through the flood of information on and offline, and understand media reform policy -- all with the aim of ensuring that the media report on the stories that matter to the 99%. This exciting event is a month away - and you can RSVP to reserve your spot now. WHEN: Saturday, March 3 from 9:30am - 4:00pm WHERE: Occidental College, 200 Johnson Hall

5

02 2012

GEOFFREY CANADA- THE PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM WE NEED IF AMERICA IS TO SURVIVE (Geoffrey Canada-Sistema de Educación Pública que necesitamos si AMERICA ES PARA SOBREVIVIR)

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) The following video is well worth the half hour or so it will take to watch it. It focuses on the same issues that we at perdaily have been trying to get across for the last 2 years as to what is at stake in purposefully failed public education system in a crisis of a magnitude that threatens the very future of this country. Like all those serious about real and quantifiable public education reform, Canada finds that this truth is something most people outside of education and even those in government charged with fixing public education, have yet to fully comprehend. But Canada has the data and the experience to know just how true this statement is in a country where 75% of those applying to the U.S. military are rejected as unqualified either for physical or mental abilities.

6

01 2012

LAUSD's John Deasy Could Learn From This Guy - School superintendent gives up $800k in pay By TRACIE CONE - Associated Press

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) My kind of guy. Somebody who realizes that the only legacy that any human being can really have is to leave a world better than he or she found it, rather than trying to assuage their guilt for a life of avarice by building a museum, hospital wing, or pyramid in Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, or Brentwood with their ill-gotten gains. It's about 5000 years since Old Kingdom Egyptian and human beings seem to be rather slow learners within that time frame, but Fresno County School Superintendent Larry Powell gives me hope and the strength to fight against billionaires bent on mutually assured destruction that comes from developing capital and not our capacity for intelligent living through universal excellent public education.

30

08 2011

Dealing With The Global Assault On Public Education And Teaching While At The Same Time Dealing With The Same Dysfunction In LAUSD

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(en español después) There is a certain irony to the fact that the same technology that is presently threatening continued human existence on the earth is also something that might offer us the best weapon in combating the tyranny of its more destructive tendencies as expounded by corporations running out of control. If we are able to evolve our natural inclination to live and perceive locally into a global perspective, then corporate power, which presently reigns supreme, will finally be held accountable by a world community that is finally empowered by the knowledge, power, and accountability that the Internet has the potential to offer..
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22

09 2010

Bilingualism, The American Advantage

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For me, one of the most interesting expressions of the conflicting approach to maintaining American viability as a society, with the knowledge that every other previous society has declined, is what I think of as the inherently American process of cultural co-optation, while at the same time allowing our identify as American to be changed by the different human combinations and permutations that are forever changing the face of this country.

2

06 2010

Lydia Gutierrez For State Superintendent Of Public Instruction

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Last night I went to Green Dot Charter run Locke High School for a candidates' forum with some of the people running for the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Of the 12 candidates for the office Larry Aceves, Karen Blake, Alexia L. Deligianni, Leonard James Martin, Faarax Dahir Sheikh-Noor, and front runner Tom Torlakson did not show up. This was understandable since there were less than 50 people in the audience after a strong email campaign by Parents' Revolution to get parents to show up. For those of us who have taught in inner city schools, we are used to poorly attended back-to-school nights and other school events, because parents have justifiably lost the belief that anybody in LAUSD or government and politics really cares about the terror that they and their children have to deal with on a daily basis.

40 Years Later, It's Time For Another Latino Walkout

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New Pew Hispanic Center Report released this week shows that Latinos once again are behind their white and black peers when it comes to educational certification after dropping out of high school. Dropping out of high school is horrible enough, but only one in ten Hispanic high school dropouts has obtained a GED. And unfortunately, the problem isn't just limited to immigrant Hispanics.

18

05 2010

An Educated Proposal For Immigration

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The color that interests me most is gray. I do not see it anywhere in most of the discussions regarding education or other important issues that are profoundly effecting our society. Since Arizona passed its racial profiling predisposed law to address the presence of undocumented workers in this country, all I have heard is that it is racist -- which it most surely is. Whether a law is ill-conceived or not, I think one must also raise some of the following points if one ever hopes to find a fair solution to immigration that remains highly problematic.

10

05 2010

The 12 Education MYTHS

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Rather then design an academic program that specifically address the subjective needs of the student population, those in power propose ideas that are non sequiturs that have no chance of success, because those in power know that successful public education means their demise and an end to the obscene waste that public education continues to incur throughout this country with no significant positive results. Most programs and reforms today accommodate to failure rather than address it.

Are Textbook Publishers Too Big To Fail? I Think Not.

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If school districts published their own books with chapters written by those teachers who had the writing talent and desire for some extra money, the districts as owners of the copyright could print up as many copies of these books as they needed at a fraction of the present cost, while paying the teachers a continuing royalty for their work. School district generated textbooks would not only cover national issues, but would be more easily adaptable to local issues by having built in links to other data on the Internet that is far richer than any single textbook could ever hope to be.

Where Reform Should Start

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It can be rather tedious writing day after day about what oblivious LAUSD administration continues to do wrong in the face of incontrovertible evidence. Therefore, I would like to make one of what I hope will be many suggestions put forth in the next few months by perdaily and others who come to the site as to what might be better approaches to accountable public education reform that has a likely chance of succeeding because it is based on an approach that is specific enough and grounded in an historical context as to what needs to be in place in order for success.

29

04 2010

LAUSD Taskforce On Teacher Policy Reform

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On Tuesday, April 27, 2010, the report of a 50 person task force of "local teachers, administrators, parents, academics and union leaders" that was set up last year will submit its report to the LAUSD Board. So let's go through Reporter Connie Llanos' article from the Contra Cost Times -- she also writes for the Daily News -- and point out the glaring omissions that no one seems willing to address:

If Parents Were Required To Come To Class, Behavior Would Get Better

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So here's a little fix that not only costs little or nothing, but stands an excellent chance of bringing down many of the collateral costs to the State of California for the failure of LAUSD and other school districts throughout the state. Any inner city teacher or school administrator will tell you that it is difficult, if not impossible, to address the needs of an academically challenged student population if student discipline cannot be maintained. In difficult economic times, administrators marching orders from LAUSD are to maintain attendance at any cost, because funding for LAUSD is exclusively a function of in seat attendance or ADA. In perusing the California Education Code, one comes up with the following section...READ MORE

5

04 2010

We're On Spring Break!

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Hey guys, we've been going five months straight and it's time for a little rest. We'll be back Monday!

29

03 2010

Social Promotion Vs Retention

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Dr. Shane R. Jimerson of the University of California at Santa Barbara, seems to have spent a considerable portion of his professional life studying the companion issues of grade retention and social promotion to see if either approach is better than the other in helping to assure ultimate student success. After a cursory view of the data he has gathered on his website, one comes to the conclusion that there is not a nickels worth of difference between the two failed approaches that have shown little or no success over the years in turning around students who for one reason or another have been allowed to fall behind their peer group in school without appropriate intervention. Professor Jimerson, "encourages researchers, educational professionals, and legislators to abandon the debate regarding social promotion and grade retention in favor of a more productive course of action in the new millennium."

25

03 2010

Executive Director At PALI Charter Resigns

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Amy Dresser-Held has announced that she is leaving Palisades Charter High School in June of this year for a start up charter. She was initially given the position by a Pali Board of Directors that included her father-in-law Richard Held and his business partner Jim Suhr in what remains an undisclosed conflict of interest that should have disqualified them in this selection process. Now somebody else gets to clean up the mess she left behind.

Detroit To Ban Social Promotion... Unless It Costs Too Much

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Detroit, which already has a $219 million deficit is about to find out if the social promotion issue can be effectively addressed. Detroit Public Schools "Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb signed an executive order Friday immediately banning teachers from passing students who are not proficient at their grade level to the next grade -- to the outrage of Detroit school board members who called it a political ploy in the midst of a court battle between Bobb and the board over academic control of the district. It is estimated that Bobb's edict will effect 20,000 students...nearly a quarter of the district's 84,600 students."

Today's Protests: All The Info + Thoughts

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EVERYTHING you need to know about today's protests. LOCATIONS, RALLY TIMES, MAPS and FLYERS as well as thoughts and advice.

A Parcel Tax Is The Best You Could Come Up With? Seriously?

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In a school district with a poverty rate of 80%, during a time of economic downturn, where 91% of the 30% Whites that remain within LAUSD's boundaries have chosen to go to private or parochial school, why would you think a two-thirds majority of taxpayers would support a $100 a year property tax for 4 years to sponsor a failed school system that many don't use and more wish they could escape from -- if they weren't so poor?

What Does Every Plan For Reforming Education Have In Common? Big Goals, No Specifics.

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One of the greatest hurdles to overcome in creating a vibrant education system out of LAUSD is the realization that the difficult work necessary to undo generations of poor public education can't take place until greater specificity is given to the catchy phrases that continue to be proposed as reform. Sadly, much of LAUSD administration is also the product of the same educational system that many years ago failed to give them the analytical skills necessary to sufficiently define and implement a reform model to address complex problems, many of which require something more than just money and "yes or no" answers.

5 Ways I Can Still Help LAUSD + Perdaily Mentioned In LA Weekly Blog

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While I am happy to be away from the toxic and administratively sanctioned unhealthy environment that physically and mentally continues to do damage to my fellow teachers, I'm saddened by not being allowed to work at my profession as an idealistic, honest, and motivated teacher. While a proper independent venue will ultimately decide the disputes I continue to have with LAUSD, there is no reason why I can't still be allowed to at least earn my salary and benefits, even if the District doesn't seem to care about my trivial pay in light of an over $640 million hole in it's budget. LA Weekly even mentions it HERE.

18

02 2010

LAUSD Says I Should Just Stay Home From Now On...

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Guess where my new office is? I'll give you a hint: it's quiet, centrally located, and only steps away from my kitchen, bedroom and living room. Job Requirements: Must be able to make two phone calls a day to my principal. Two! Job includes full salary and benefits. And this is supposed to be my punishment for starting a website?

An International School In Los Angeles -- Why Not?

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VIA Lenny: Several years ago, when LAUSD acquired and demolished the old Ambassador Hotel site in the Mid-Wilshire area, I proposed an international school like the one I had been involved with for 7 years, when I lived in France. Although my proposal was included in the environmental impact report, nobody ever contacted me about the proposal nor did I ever have the feeling that LAUSD was open to ideas on what to do with the site. I must emphasize that my proposal was not something that was untried, but rather a vibrant multilingual and multicultural system of education that has been up and running in France since shortly after the Second World War. I guess LAUSD had a better idea...

10

02 2010

Berkeley High: Academic Success Versus Racial Equity Is A False Dichotomy

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About eight years ago when I was still teaching at relatively high achieving Palisades Charter High School, I was invited to a well funded program at UCLA, where we were asked, "What can we do in high school to improve the achievement of Black and Latino students, so that they might have greater success in post secondary education." The answer I gave at that time is still as political incorrect as it was then, because most politicians and educators refuse to accept the fact that the failure to assure appropriate physical and mental stimulation to the developing brains of Black and Latino children at the appropriate time in their development does immutable damage that cannot be subsequently rectified.

A Primer For Teacher Whistleblowers

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As teachers are laid off, medical benefits diminished, and salaries unilaterally cut, do you still think that saying nothing about the fraud you see perpetrated by the LAUSD administration means you'll be left alone? Imagine what Superintendent Ray Cortines thought when he looked out of his window and saw only 300 of the 33,000 members of UTLA demonstrating. The only power you have to stop the further dismemberment of public education in LAUSD is to use what you know...
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The Case For Industrial Arts In LAUSD Is Stronger Than Ever

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In the United States, the total capacity of all colleges and universities is only 40% of high school graduates. A relatively successful high school in LAUSD like Palisades Charter has only 30% of its graduates finishing a four-year college degree. It goes without saying that this rate is significantly lower in the vast majority of other LAUSD high schools. So why has LAUSD continued to tout going to college as the sole measure of success in high school?

The 8 Simple Rules For Fixing LAUSD Overnight

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With all the brouhaha about fixing public education, people are left with the false impression that this is some herculean and incredibly complicated task that borders on the impossible. In actuality, nothing could further from the truth. What is hard is maintaining archaic disproved models of public education that only serve to maintain the relatively small number of people who benefit under the present regime. Instead of reconstituting teachers in failed schools, try reconstituting administration. Instead of accommodating teacher and student dysfunction, look at why they fail and stop lying to yourselves -- enforce objective standards for all. Stop adapting to failure and assaulting those who complain. Create independent oversight instead of blind loyalty to failure. Here are 8 ways to solve the education problem literally overnight.

10

12 2009

The real secret to choosing a school in Los Angeles

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As desperate parents seek some sort of viable alternative to the dearth of options they have in LAUSD, the district's imperfectly run CHOICES Program remains one of the few possibilities that offers even the slightest chance of their children receiving an adequate education in a public school.

5

12 2009

Teachers are selling lesson plans (finally)

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Bake sales could be a thing of the past. Teachers all over the country are turning to selling lesson plans online. Since most educators spend endless hours on crafting the perfect lesson, why shouldn't they get credit for their work (and money)? Sounds like a win-win, except somebody thinks they actually deserve a cut. HINT: They don't.

20

11 2009