Talent Search Federal Grants will help pave the road to college for 1,892 LAUSD students annually

LA Unified school board member Monica Garcia announced on her Twitter and Facebook accounts recently that eight district high schools will benefit from three Talent Search Federal Grants from the U. S. Department of Education in the amount of $908,160.00 annually for the next five years.

The grants will be administered by the the University of Southern California and assist 1,892 high school students each year who are low-income, first-generation and from disadvantaged backgrounds who have the potential to succeed in college.

According to a release from Garcia’s office, the program “provides academic tutoring, career exploration, financial aid counseling, SAT Prep., aptitude assessments, mentoring programs, career workshops, aesthetic/cultural activities and four-year college tours. Ultimately the goal of Talent Search is to increase the number of youth from disadvantaged backgrounds to complete high school and enroll in postsecondary education.”

The high schools that will receive money from the grants are Locke High School, Jordan High School, South East High School, Manual Arts High School, West Adams Prep High School, Belmont High School, Miguel Contreras High School and Edward Roybal High School.


Make no mistake: Immigration is an education issue

#EDlection2016By Hailly T.N. Korman

The DNC kicked off last night with two parallel stories of immigration that are meaningful, especially for those closely watching education issues. Karla Ortiz — a 10-year-old American citizen — spoke along with her mother, Francisca Ortiz, who is undocumented. Another speaker, Astrid Silva — identified on the schedule simply as “DREAMer” — is the organizing director at the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada. She is also undocumented. Although these speakers highlighted the importance education played in their personal stories, it might not be immediately obvious that momentum around immigration reform in the federal executive office is explicitly connected to our schools.

The appearance of these speakers on night one suggests that the Clinton campaign intends to bring renewed energy to passing the DREAM Act, now more than six years old. And while this statute is a federal immigration law, it has enormous implications for state education programs. Since 1982, undocumented students have been entitled to attend a public K-12 school; they also cannot be excluded from public college or university. But what they still can’t do is qualify for in-state tuition or get federal grants or loans to pay for it. Some states have taken up the cause and created their own state funding opportunities — but programs vary wildly with different eligibility requirements and benefits available.

• Read more on the live blog: The 74 and Bellwether Education Partners are partnering to cover both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.

By leading with two stories that are about both immigration and education, the DNC sets the stage for some high-level ideological and policy friction between the federal government and the states. Immigration policy belongs to the federal government alone (even though we’ve seen lots of states try to assert their power — and lose). Education policy is primarily a state responsibility, even though the federal government can offer incentives for states to adopt preferred policies or practices. But the recent passage of ESSA shifts even more decision-making power to the states, while still providing them with federal dollars.

There’s also the matter of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals): a separate federal executive action that applies to this same category of undocumented people: young people ages 15-31 who are enrolled in, or recently graduated from, high school. DACA acts as an interim measure while the DREAM Act winds its way through Congress, protecting eligible students’ continued U.S. residency by allowing them to apply for a two-year reprieve from the threat of deportation.

The success of DACA, however, rests on our public K-12 schools.

In order to qualify for DACA protection, students must prove that they are attending (or have graduated from) a U.S. high school. That requirement means more than just gathering the paperwork, it also means that we’re trusting our schools have the capacity to support these students through high school.

Threading the needle — not only on immigration and education, but also state and federal authority — is going to be a tricky task. But the Clinton campaign seems to be gearing up for it. We’ve gotten a lot of the “why,” now I think we’re all ready to hear the “how.”

This article was published in partnership with The74Million.org.

LA Unified data blogger tracks down TFA corps members 8 years later to see if they are still teaching

Education PostBy Caroline Bermudez

Reflexive opposition to Teach For America (TFA) is commonplace and the arguments against the organization are recycled regularly: Corps members are ill-prepared, they don’t stay in the profession, or they primarily teach at charter schools.

It’s rare to come across fresh or fair takes on TFA, much less from someone who is a former corps member and has taught at public schools both traditional and charter.

School Data Nerd is the nom de plume of Benjamin Feinberg, an eighth-grade math and science teacher at Luther Burbank Middle School, in Highland Park, who uses public data to guide his thinking on educational issues rather than resorting to rhetoric or politicking.

Feinberg, a TFA corps member in 2008, was curious to see how many people from his cohort were still teaching, so he took to Internet voyeurism courtesy of LinkedIn, Facebook and Google to find out. (Feinberg admitted his approach was more snoopy than scientific.)

Click here for the full story from Education Post, and read LA School Report’s profile of Feinberg here.

Morning Read: Governor signed bill retaining parents’ right to enroll child in school near work

Parents retain right to enroll in schools near where they work

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation on Monday that removes a July 2017 sunset on authorization for students to enroll in a school near where a parent or legal guardian works. Assembly Bill 2537 from Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, represents the most recent relaxation of policy that governs family rights to enroll their children in a school district where they do not live. By Tom Chorneau, Cabinet Report

Challenger Nick Melvoin raises more than incumbent Steve Zimmer early on in school board bid

Nick Melvoin

Nick Melvoin


The candidate challenging LA Unified board President Steve Zimmer for school board has raised more money early on in the March 7 election campaign than the incumbent did in his entire re-election bid three years ago, according to city campaign finance records.

Nick Melvoin announced this week that as of the June 30 filing deadline, he has raised $124, 344. Records show that Zimmer raised just $7,304 in the same period.

“I’m grateful to all the individuals who have supported this campaign so far,” Melvoin said in a statement. “I’ve just begun to share my vision for improving public education in Los Angeles, and I look forward to working on behalf of all the communities in the 4th District to turn those plans into real change.”

Melvoin noted that many of his campaign contributions were $100 or less, but about 30 percent of the donors who gave more than $100 live outside California, records show.

The early filings indicate that money will likely be pouring into this race, as it has in previous elections for school board seats.

But money wasn’t the deciding factor in Zimmer’s previous reelection bid. He won with 52 percent of the vote even though he was outspent by his opponent.

Zimmer said he is “very focused” on November, specifically the passage of statewide ballot measures Prop. 55 and Prop. 58 and the election of Hillary Clinton as president. Prop. 55 is an extension of income taxes on the wealthy to fund public education under Prop. 30 that was passed by voters in 2012. Prop. 58, the California Multilingual Education Act, would repeal a law that prohibits non-English languages from being used in public schools.

“There will be plenty of time to talk about the looming battle for control of the school board and the obscene amounts of money that will be raised and spent on that struggle,” Zimmer said in an email. “For now, as Michelle Obama said this week, ‘We have important work to do.'” 

It is early in the citywide election season. The primary is March 7. The general election will be held May 16. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the votes in the primary, the top two vote-getters will compete in the general election.

Melvoin launched his campaign in February. So far, no one else has entered the race. Candidates officially file for the race in November but can begin to raise money.

In his previous reelection bid in 2013, Zimmer raised a total of $122,000. His opponent, Kate Anderson, brought in $263,603. Independent expenditure committees poured nearly $2.7 million into the race.

The school board races that year received national attention and money from outside donors like former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who gave $1 million to a coalition formed by then-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa that donated money to the three school board races and supported a slate of candidates. Villaraigosa’s group opposed Zimmer.


Two other school board seats are up for reelection next spring. Longtime board member Monica Garcia, who was first elected in 2006, is seeking reelection in board District 2. She is being challenged by Carl Petersen. Petersen ran in 2015 for the school board District 5 seat and came in 5th place in the primary. (Scott Schmerelson won that seat.) The city Ethics Commission has not posted campaign finance reports for Petersen or Garcia on its website.

School board member Monica Ratliff will not seek reelection and has opted to run for City Council. No one has announced an intention to run for the open board District 6 seat in the East San Fernando Valley.

So far no independent expenditure committees have spent any money in the school board races.

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As California Supreme Court mulls Vergara appeal, a case on teacher evaluations will be heard this week

Plaintiffs' attorneys Ted Boutrous, left, and Josh Lipshutz, right, with Students Matter founder David Welch in the background

Plaintiffs’ attorneys Ted Boutrous, left, and Josh Lipshutz, right, with Students Matter founder David Welch in the background.

As the California Supreme Court considers whether to take up an appeal of an appellate court ruling in Vergara v. California, which has been extended to Aug. 22, the advocacy group that brought the landmark case will be in a Northern California courtroom Friday for a hearing on a case involving teacher evaluations.

Last year Students Matter filed a lawsuit, Doe v. Antioch, against 13 California school districts, saying collective bargaining agreements in those districts violated the Stull Act by explicitly prohibiting the use of student standardized test scores in assessing teacher performance. LA Unified is not a party of the lawsuit.

The Stull Act, passed by the state Legislature in 1971, requires student progress to be included as part of evaluations of teacher job performance.

A similar lawsuit, Doe v. Deasy, was filed against LA Unified in 2011 by EdVoice. Superior Court Judge James Chalfant agreed with the plaintiffs and ordered LA Unified to renegotiate contracts with its teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles, to develop new evaluations based in part on student progress.

After former Superintendent John Deasy opted to make student achievement account for 30 percent of teacher evaluations, UTLA filed an unfair labor practices complaint in 2013 against the district with the Public Employment Relations Board, or PERB. The union and the district had agreed to include student test scores as part of evaluations, but did not agree on a specific numeric requirement, union officials said at the time.

Attorney Joshua Lipshutz, of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, who is representing Students Matter said he will ask a Contra Costa County Superior Court judge on Friday to grant a writ of mandate, essentially a court order requiring the school districts to comply with the law.

Lipshutz said after the judgment was made in the lawsuit against LA Unified, he hoped other school districts would comply with the ruling on their own even though they weren’t required to. The districts didn’t, he said.

“The same system ruled to be illegal in Doe v. Deasy is the same thing that’s in place in all of these other districts,” he said.

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Why a rocky first night at the DNC means they’ll play it safe — and avoid education arguments — for the rest of the week

#EDlection2016By Kaitlin Pennington
Yesterday, my Bellwether Education Partners colleague Andy Rotherham wrote on this blog that “as long as the Democrats don’t burn the place down, it’s going to be hard for them to have a worse convention than the GOP just did.”

Well, it came close.

The Democratic National Convention delegates didn’t seem to get the memo on the theme for the night: “United Together.” Amid tensions over leaked emails showing that the chair of the Democratic National Committee, Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, steered the party in favor of Hillary Clinton and against Bernie Sanders during the primaries, Sanders supporters started the night booing at the mention of Clinton’s name.

It all came to an awkward, unexpected head when former Sanders supporter comedian Sarah Silverman called the “Bernie or Bust” attendees “ridiculous” from the stage.

It was smoother sailing from there. Sen. Cory Booker seemed to soothe the crowd with a speech framed on Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise” (See our smart piece from last night on Booker’s rich education record). Michelle Obama gave a moving speech echoing a Clinton advertisement about the power of the next president to be a role model for children. It got slightly rocky again at the beginning of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s speech when delegates chanted “We Trusted You!” at Warren, but by the end of her speech, the crowd was nearly silent, seemingly supportive of her message to elect Clinton.

• Read more on the live blog: The 74 and Bellwether Education Partners are partnering to cover both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.

And when Sanders took the stage endorsing Clinton and the Democratic platform, delegates rallied in support of his message.

Given how the first night of the convention went, policy topics for the next three days are likely to stay on noncontroversial issues that all Democrats can support. Sadly, that means K-12 education is out (not that it was ever in).

Clinton has campaigned on K-12 policy platitudes, and her running-mate choice of Tim Kaine, who also steers clear on the nitty gritty of K-12 policy, put a nail in the coffin of that policy conversation.

The little that was mentioned about K-12 education last night came from American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, who worked in a favorite talking point of hers around over-testing in our nation’s schools.

If anything is clear from the first night of the convention, it’s that the party needs to continue to work on unity. Therefore, for the remainder of the DNC, education reformers can expect speakers to stick to policy areas that Democrats agree on, including early childhood education access and college affordability.

Now is apparently not the time to rock the boat.

This article was published in partnership with The74Million.org.

Promised filtration systems at Long Beach schools were never installed

By Rachel Uranga

School children and parents living near the single largest source of pollution in Southern California were promised air-cleaning filters in classrooms nearly four years ago – but many never saw them.

In 2012, the Port of Long Beach signed a deal to give Long Beach Unified School District $4 million to install air filtration systems and erect pollution-cutting landscapes in 27 school facilities near the corridor of the nation’s largest and most active seaport complex.

“The point of getting the money was to try to get these projects implemented as quickly as possible,” said Heather Tomley, director of environmental planning for the Port of Long Beach.

It was a high priority for the port, she said, as children and the elderly are especially vulnerable to diesel pollutants. With big rigs traveling to and from the port day and night, residents who live near the port have higher rates of asthma and respiratory problems linked to diesel-emissions.

But so far, fewer than half the schools – just 12 – have the filtration systems. And of those 12, the filtration systems burned out at least 10 air-conditioning motors at schools.

Click here for the full story from the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Morning Read: Feds issue guidelines aimed at preventing discrimination against students with ADHD

U.S. issues federal guidelines to prevent discrimination against students with ADHD
The U.S. Department of Education has issued guidelines aimed at preventing schools from discriminating against the growing numbers of students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In a letter to school districts and a “know your rights” document to be posted on its website Tuesday, the department said schools must obey existing civil rights law to identify students with the disorder and provide them with accommodations to help them learn. By Joy Resmovits, Los Angeles Times

Participants at LA Unified’s summit on best practices suggest an arbiter for co-located schools


Sharing Narbonne High’s campus, principals Gregory Fisher and Gerald Kobata.

At the final panel of the “Promising Practices” forum held all day Saturday, participants called for an arbiter at the district level who could step in to help solve disputes at schools sharing campuses.

The panel discussion was titled “Leading the Way with Collaboration and Sharing of Promising Practices: Perspectives from the Field” and included three sets of principals at co-located sites that share the same buildings, gyms and libraries. Sometimes the relationships are strained at first, as in the case of when Narbonne High School found its staff and students separating into a pilot school.


A smoky morning at the Sonia Sotomayor campus because of the Sand fire in the Santa Clarita Valley.

“Call it an amicable divorce, it wasn’t easy,” said Gregory Fisher, the principal of the Humanities and Arts Academy (HArts) pilot school that is co-located at Narbonne. A former teacher at the traditional district school, Fisher saw his pilot school competing for the same students and teachers. “We tried to be as sensitive as possible. Of course we had some common goals, but some of our goals were divergent.”

HArts and the traditional school were going through struggles that were similar to the five stages of death, Fisher said. Narbonne High School Principal Gerald Kobata agreed, saying: “That first year was not easy. It was difficult for me and my staff and why those teachers were leaving Narbonne. We experienced every conceivable problem.”

Now co-located for their third year, the principals agree things are going smoothly based on the mutual respect they have for each other and their regular communication.

“We had to get our staff to see that this is good for the students and we’re not competing with the other school,” Kobata said.

Both Narbonne schools shared professional development training such as active shooter training and a seminar on economics. Narbonne’s schools have common state championship sports teams, which is part of the glue that holds the school together, but they still have problems that the district could step in to help.


Yvette King-Berg of the Youth Policy Institute.

“The students are fine, they don’t see a difference,” Kobata said.

Fisher suggested that district administrators help settle disputes rather than simply letting the principals haggle it out. “Emotions can take over, and that needs to be addressed in a way to show there’s nothing personal,” Fisher said.

Yvette King-Berg, executive director of the Youth Policy Institute that runs the Monseñor Oscar Romero Charter Middle School on the campus of Berendo Middle School, warned that charter programs shouldn’t use Prop. 39 to co-locate at a district school and then come in with a bad attitude.

“Do not be the bratty younger brother or sister that was born second and you come in like you are entitled and have the right of access of resources from mom and dad,” King-Berg said. “You have the right for it all being equitable, but the older sibling was already there. You have to make it easier for the older sibling too.”

King-Berg said, “Prop 39 is not going away, it is what is best for kids. I make sure that me and my staff never engage in negative talk.”

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Charter chiefs applaud Zimmer’s summit speech


Steve Zimmer at Saturday’s “Promising Practices” summit.

LA Unified School Board President Steve Zimmer offered a rousing speech at Saturday’s “Promising Practices” forum that was praised by charter leaders because of his inclusiveness.

“We understand that a narrative that blames charter schools for all that is wrong in public education may serve short-term organizing goals but is counterproductive and doesn’t help every child,” Zimmer said. “Equally, a narrative that perpetuates the notion that LAUSD schools are failures may increase the short-term goal of increasing charter schools and reinforces deficit mindsets. It’s an immoral narrative. Both of these narratives are not factual, both goals have the effect of dividing us artificially and not really serving the needs of kids and their families and why we got into this work.”

Zimmer, who was on his way to catch a plane across the country, stayed only for the first hour of the forum, but people were talking about his speech all day.

“We haven’t yet figured that out with LAUSD and charter schools how to share promising practices, and this is a beginning,” Zimmer said to the room of about 200 teachers from traditional and charter schools. “We have things that we can learn from each other, we have ways that could get over the barriers … and work together to make those dreams come true.”


The “Promising Practices” forum was held at the Sonia Sotomayor Learning Academies campus.

“Wow, I feel like we charter schools don’t have cooties anymore,” quipped Caprice Young, chief executive officer of Magnolia Public Schools, who was also a panelist at the forum. She joined with Granda Hills Charter School to discuss “Communities of Practice: Special Education Innovation.” “I think Steve Zimmer’s speech was wonderful and this forum is giving all of us a chance to share and discuss. It’s very good energy all around.”

Parker Hudnut, CEO of Inner City Education Foundation (ICEF) Public Schools, said he was also pleased. “Steve did an excellent job setting the stage for collaboration through his vivid imagery. He reminded us that we each got into this work to fortify future generations and to be successful, we must all collaborate across adult divisions.”

Hudnut pointed out that two of his ICEF teachers gave a lecture titled: “Moving Away from Sage on the Stage Teaching: Targeted Group Structure” attended by 15 LA Unified district teachers. He said, “To me, that is the entire point of the gathering. Here were educators focused solely on how to teach students better: two charter teachers sharing their learning with 15 LAUSD teachers. That is beautiful to me!”

Zimmer, who is running for re-election, has tempered his comments about the proliferation of charter schools in the second-largest school district in the country.

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Overall enrollment is down, but LA Unified has the same number of kindergarteners as 9 years ago, data show


As those inside the district voice a repeated refrain that declining enrollment will likely plunge LA Unified into bankruptcy, new data show it still attracted nearly the same number of kindergarten students last year as it had nine years earlier when it had 133,000 more students overall.

The data come as a surprise amid declining enrollment as the county’s birth rate has dwindled and parents have opted to send their kids elsewhere as charter schools proliferate and many suburban school districts continue to outperform LA Unified.

In 2006-07, the district had 49,896 kindergarteners enrolled as of the October “norm day” an enrollment count used to allocate resources and funding from the state. Nine years later, 49,289 students were enrolled in kindergarten at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year, the data show.

School board member Monica Garcia highlighted these numbers at the last special meeting the board held aimed at tackling its long-term financial situation. She expressed hope that the district can hang on to those students through graduation.

“Let’s keep them,” Garcia said of the kindergarteners.

But the data show, so far, the district isn’t.

The class of 2006-07 kindergarten students, has turned into 36,876 ninth-grade students in 2015-16, a 26 percent decrease. The students will graduate in 2018-19.

And the data show the decline is happening as early as first grade. The number of district kindergarteners who have gone on to first grade has decreased over the past five years, plummeting 17 percent just last year.

In a memo to the Board of Education, Chief Facilities Executive Mark Hovatter, whose office compiled the data, wrote that the increases in kindergarten enrollment “may not be a true indication of future enrollment growth.” He said transitional kindergarten has led to an increase in kindergarten enrollment.

Transitional kindergarten students are included in the kindergarten data, although district officials did not say how many of those students were in transitional kindergarten. So it is unclear how much transitional kindergarten has affected the numbers.

Transitional kindergarten was established by the state Legislature in 2010. It essentially created a two-year kindergarten program.  Teachers must have a credential, the curriculum is a “modified” version of the kindergarten curriculum and students are generally in school for a full day. Since implementation in 2012, the state rolled back the eligibility date one month each year from Dec. 2 to Sept. 2. Now students can be enrolled in transitional kindergarten if their 5th birthday falls between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2. If a student turns 5 on or before Sept. 1, the student enrolls in kindergarten.

“It increases the total pool of children that are counted to be in kindergarten,” said Rena Perez, director of the district’s Master Planning and Demographics.

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Exclusive: NYC educators recall the day Trump played principal and offended the kids

Portrait of Donald Trump smiling and holding an apple at Trump Tower, New York City, New York, February 1998. (Photo by Robin G. London/Getty Images)

(Credit: Photo illustration/Getty Images)

Long before Donald J. Trump came one election away from becoming the most powerful man on Earth, he played at being the most powerful man at P.S. 70 in the Bronx.

Memories of Trump’s tone-deaf “Principal for a Day” performance at the poor New York City elementary school — where he offered to buy a select group of kids Nike sneakers and was promptly challenged by one little boy who wanted a scholarship instead — have bubbled back up with new meaning for several key players who were there that spring day in 1997.

Trump, who may soon be affecting education policy for every child in America, had been recruited by the nonprofit Public Education Needs Civic Involvement in Learning (PENCIL), which brings influential New Yorkers into the public schools to create personal connections. While the Republican nominee for president likely doesn’t remember the educators he met that day in an outer-borough school, P.S. 70 staff members and others involved tell The 74 it was a cringeworthy episode they’ll never forget.

Sylvia Simon, the real principal of P.S. 70 at the time, said as an African American who was herself a product of New York City public schools, her student’s offense at Trump’s sneaker lottery resonated on a deeply personal level.

“I’m a minority woman, I come from the South Bronx from the same neighborhood; to me, I thought it was disrespectful,” she said, adding, “I would have preferred that he gave the money that those sneakers cost to the (school).” 

9704035 MET SCHOOL DeChillo,Suzanne Photo Caption: Date: 04/10/97 Headline: Principal for a Day: Trump in the south bronx Assignment Caption:The Bronx, NY. Pix of Principal for a Day a program sponsored by Board of Ed and Public Education Needs Civic Involvement in Learning : Donald Trump as a principal at PS 70 in the South Bronx. Real Principal is Sylvia Simon, principal of PS 70. Parents with the Parents Patrol who questioned the purpose of Mr. Trump's visit: ** Christa Grant, parent who said that that she didn't her children to be part of publicity stunt. with another parent, Aida Morales (beret) who volunteer at the school and they both are part of the Partent Patrol. ** Sylvia Simon, Principal and Donald Trump with bullhorn talking to children in the lunchroom at PS 70. ** The lottery for the Nike sneakers in the school auditorium l-r.superintendant Maria Guasp, superintendant for the day David A. Wan, president of educational publishing group at Simon & Schuster, Donald Trump, Principal for the day picking the last of the lottery winners for 20 pairs of sneakers for the fifth graders, with some of the fifth grade students on left. *** Fifth graders cheering during the lottery for Nike sneakers. *** In school hallway, Barry Mitchell, security for The Trump Organization, talks to student about the importance of staying in the classroom and finishing school. *** Trump donates $200 to the Chess Team of PS #70 at the Cake Sale, where they are desparely trying to raise money for a trip to a national chess competition in Tennessee. l-r Parent Flora Mayfield, and Parbatty Singh with Donald Trump. other parent is Ina Peru. ** Trump reading a book to the 2nd Grade 4th grade student Grace Molina, age 9 looking at the Trump Palace the art teacher made to commerate Trump's visit. . Parents Diana Molina. Aida Morales ( black beret), Christa Grant , SyBil Mulligan , president of Parent Association(big woman with sunglasses) ***Assembly for fifth graders where Trump ran a lottery for Nike sneakers (he gave away about 20 pairs to the Fifth Graders at the lottery; another 60 to other classes. ) Visiting classes 2nd grade Rita Fields 3rd Grade Sharon Pollack; Mr. Julian Summers assistant principal. 5tj Grade Natalie Blackwell 5th Grad Sandra HOlt. Alton Barnes, Flora Mayfield, Parbatty Singh ,, Ina Peru Officer Andrew Pabon, Officer Francesco Diodonet. Mark Singer Parents Aida Morales (black beret); Photographer: DeChillo,Suzanne Sack Number: 9704035 Reporter: Belluck,Pam Slug: SCHOOL Desk: MET Start: 0800 Until: Change Time: False City: State: Country: Location: Contact: Contact Phone: Reporter There?: False Editor: Editor,Photo Date Wanted: 04/10/97 Time Wanted: ASAP Summary: Photographer Type: 1 Shot?: True Number of Rolls: 18 Scanned?: 0 Handouts: False Notes: Clean?: False Assignment: 970410002A Record No: 83507 Published in NYT 04/11/97 National Edition Published caption: Using a bullhorn, Donald J. Trump was Principal for a Day at Public School 70 in the Bronx, as Sylvia Simon, principal, listened.

Donald Trump as principal for a day at P.S. 70 in the South Bronx in 1997, with Principal Sylvia Simon. (Credit: Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times/Redux)

Simon, now retired and living in Westchester County, can still summon the disappointment she and her students felt after Trump showed up in his limousine, spent about two hours at the school and left. She compared it to a visit by a Scholastic publishing executive who took the time to ask about P.S. 70’s demographics, noted that most of the students were on free and reduced-price lunch, and ended up donating books to every grade for a year.

“It’s not that you live well, and you live in a nice environment and you have made lots of money. It’s the ability to put yourself in [another’s] place. I hope [Trump has] learned to do that.

“I’m not so sure that he — he didn’t understand, to give low-income kids a lottery for sneakers was an insult. But hopefully he’s learned … it was a long time ago.”

Former Assistant Principal Mark Singer recalls that when he took Trump on a tour of the building, the known germophobe plucked a tissue out of his pocket to protect his hand from touching the school stairwell railing.

Everyone escorting the billionaire noticed, Singer says, but no one said a word.

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Democrats flock to Philadelphia: Here’s where 14 DNC elites stand on education

#EDlection2016As the country’s electoral sweepstakes moves a few hundred miles east from Cleveland to Philadelphia, where Democrats are set to nominate Hillary Clinton, discussions of policy look to become more substantive.

Unlike Trump, Clinton has a substantial education record – during the campaign, she released detailed proposals on home visits and the school-to-prison pipeline. She recently addressed the country’s largest teachers union and was booed for mentioning charter schools; only a few months before she was criticized for suggesting that charters don’t enroll highly disadvantaged children.

In addition to Clinton, other high-profile Democrats who will address the convention have extensive education policies.

• Read more on the live blog: The 74 and Bellwether Education Partners are partnering to cover both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.

Here are the edu-creds of 14 marquee names set to take the stage in Philly:

Vice President Joe Biden — During his time as vice president, Biden has taken a lead in the effort to reduce sexual assaults at colleges and universities. While a senator, Biden twice sponsored the Campus Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights Act. He also introduced a bill that would identify top-performing, low-income eighth graders as part of a program to guarantee them Pell Grant funds for college.

Former President Bill Clinton — In his 1999 State of the Union address, Clinton proposed what could be seen in retrospect as a prototype of No Child Left Behind. In exchange for federal funds, states would have to end social promotion, issue report cards on school performance, hire better-trained teachers, and “shake up failing schools,” as the Los Angeles Times put it. During his tenure as governor of Arkansas in the 1980s, Clinton pushed to direct more money to the state’s schools, set new academic standards, and required competency testing for teachers. Arkansas schools remained among the worst in the country.

President Barack Obama — The president is in some ways the model DFER-style Democrat, promoting education reforms like charter schools and data-driven teacher evaluation despite backlash from traditional allies in labor. His edu-legacy will live in the Race to the Top program (including the Common Core and teacher evaluations tied to student test scores), his push for federal pre-school spending, spotlight on the school-to-prison pipeline and, in higher ed, reforms to student loans, call to make community college free, and a crackdown on for-profit colleges.

Michelle Obama — The First Lady is probably best known for her Let’s Move initiative promoting physical activity and healthy eating to combat childhood obesity. The program set off a conservative backlash around issues of cost and government intrusion, particularly in response to her efforts to incorporate more produce and whole grains and less salt in school lunches. She also launched Let Girls Learn, aimed at helping the 62 million girls currently not in school worldwide to access a quality education.

Sen. Bernie Sanders — Vermont’s progressive sensation focused primarily on higher education during the primary and sometimes stumbled when trying to address K-12 issues, like charter schools. While in Congress he introduced bills to pay for extended school days and years, fund dual college enrollment, promote community schools, and support high school reentry. Sanders voted against No Child Left Behind as a member of the House.

Astrid Silva — Silva is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. She arrived as a penniless small child but grew up to become a political activist whose story has often been cited by Democratic lawmakers and President Obama in arguing for passage of the DREAM Act, which would allow young people brought to the country illegally to work and go to school legally.

Sen. Cory Booker — Best known for his role in Newark’s state-run schools during his tenure as mayor, Booker pushed to include stronger accountability measures in last year’s Senate rewrite of No Child Left Behind.

Gov. Jerry Brown — The California governor approved a state budget last month that will allow for the expansion of pre-K, help with hiring teachers, boost spending for charter school start-up costs, and increase per-pupil funding. He has also resisted the national trend toward data-based school accountability.

Mayor Bill de Blasio — Improving schools has been central to the first-term agenda of New York City mayor. He has fought to retain mayoral control of the city’s schools while launching a universal preschool initiative and allocating significant extra funds to poor-performing schools. He has had a fraught relationship with charter school operators but says he doesn’t oppose charter schools.

Sen. Al Franken — The former Saturday Night Live star and comedian has focused on combating bullying against LGBT students, education technology and its possible consequences for student data privacy, and the education of Native American students, particularly those in Bureau of Indian Education schools.

Sen. Tom Harkin — The former senator and past chairman of the Senate education committee was long an advocate for early childhood education. He tried to rewrite No Child Left Behind twice and oversaw the release of a key report on wrongdoings by for-profit colleges. He is best known as the author of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Mayor Jim Kenney — Philadelphia’s top official made national news recently for successfully pushing to increase taxes on soda and other sugary drinks to pay for expanded pre-K and the creation of 25 “community schools” in the city.

Sen. Chris Murphy — The Connecticut senator was one of Cory Booker’s partners in the push for increased federal accountability standards in the Every Student Succeeds Act. He has also advocated for stronger federal restrictions on the use of seclusion and restraint for students with special needs.

Gov. Tom Wolf — The first-term governor of Pennsylvania was elected in part because voters saw the deep cuts to schools made by his predecessor as destructive. He has spent much of his time in office battling the Republican-led legislature over the state budget, a fight that had a drastic impact on Keystone State schools — particularly in poor districts — last year.

This article was published in partnership with The74Million.org.

Morning Read: California needs more teachers, but also more master teachers

California needs not just more teachers but more master teachers
California is trying to increase both the quantity of teachers and the quality of teaching. However, we should be wary about just expanding the pipeline of teachers. What we also need is a different kind of teacher.  By Derek Mitchell, EdSource

Special ed enrollment at charters nearly matches district’s percentage, but exodus from LA Unified looms

LA Unified’s district schools and independent charters enroll nearly the same percentage of students with disabilities after five years of gains by charters, a new report shows.

But cooperation between nearly 100 of LA Unified’s 221 charters and the district could slide into chaos if the LA Unified school board decides not to continue a five-year pilot program that has been credited with the enrollment increase. At least one charter leader said discontinuing the pilot could cause a chain reaction leading to the school board not approving the charters’ renewals.

The report, from LA Unified’s independent monitor of its special education programs, shows that 11.04 percent of students at independent charters are in special education — a new high — compared to 11.96 percent at district schools. The statistics were celebrated in a press release this week from the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA). However, the release does not mention that the district still has a much larger number of special education students with moderate or severe disabilities, who are more costly to educate.

The number of students with moderate to severe disabilities at the nearly 100 charters has increased from 1.2 percent in 2010-11 to 2.1 percent this past school year, while the percentage of special education students in traditional district schools with moderate to severe disabilities has risen to 4.72 percent from 3.63 percent five years ago. The district noted in an email that the percentage at traditional schools includes preschools, which charter schools do not serve, so “it is difficult to compare the district’s percentage to charters.”

Caprice Young, CEO of Magnolia Public Schools, operator of eight charters in LA Unified, said the reason for the increase is the pilot program that is up for review this fiscal year.

“The pilot has led to a lot of really great things. It has led to an increase in the quality of special education in charter schools because we have been implementing the best practices that we have been learning from each other,” said Young, a former LA Unified school board president.

In 2011, some charter operators were threatening to leave LA Unified’s Special Education Local Planning Area (SELPA) and have their special education students served by the El Dorado County Office of Education in Northern California. Under state law, multiple school districts can band together to pool money and resources to serve special education students, and some of the district’s charters believed the cost of special ed at El Dorado would be cheaper.

But then a deal was struck that persuaded the charter schools not to leave LA’s SELPA, and that deal must now be reviewed during the current fiscal year.

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Commentary: Making sense of state’s new school evaluation system is practically impossible

Los-Angeles-Times-logoBy the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board

It’s not easy to measure the performance of a school, because there are so many things that go into providing a good education. But neither should it be as hard as the State Board of Education is making it.

After three years of work, the board recently revealed a draft of its new annual accountability system for California schools. These are the report cards, in effect, that are to replace the old single-number Academic Performance Index by which schools have been judged for the last decade and a half. The API was based almost solely on the results of the annual standardized tests taken by students.

The board’s determination to measure schools by more than merely test scores is laudable and has led national thinking on the topic. But the new system is more than overly warm and fuzzy. Making sense of it is practically impossible.

Click here for the full article from the Los Angeles Times.

Education at the RNC? Not so much. Why the GOP doesn’t seem all that interested

#EDlection2016By Max Marchitello 

Although it was light on ideas, the four days of the Republican National Convention were nevertheless exciting at times. A few states staged a walkout in an attempt to secure a roll call vote. From Florida to Washington, we debated what does or does not count as plagiarism. We pretended to be a grand jury during a mock indictment of Hillary Clinton. And finally, we heard over and over from the Trump family.

Much to the chagrin of wonks like me, and really anyone who wants to get a sense of what a Trump White House might look like, 10-point plans and policy ideas were afterthoughts. And given the central role it plays in just about every area of American life, even more disappointing was the fact that education policy was such a fringe issue. Schools barely received any mention at all.

But benching education isn’t all that surprising these days. Looking back at the last few presidential races, education took a backseat to other issues such as the economy, national security, or entitlement reform. This isn’t to suggest that America’s education problems are few or less important. Quite the contrary. But because in the last few races candidates just haven’t been prioritizing them. Can anyone remember Mitt Romney’s or John McCain’s thoughts on how to improve our schools?

This conspicuous absence is a function of the GOP’s inability to develop new policy ideas that will increase school quality, close achievement gaps, and expand access to college and good jobs. Of course that’s not to say Republicans don’t have any ideas to improve education. Rather, that those ideas have a hard time taking root as they run afoul of an increasingly popular and narrow vision of conservatives.

• Read the complete archive of The 74-Bellwether Education Partners live blog of the 2016 Republican National Convention. (See our DNC coverage here.) We will be covering national and state-level education issues leading up to Election Day at our #EDlection2016 page — sign up for The 74 newsletter to get all our campaign updates. 

So what do you do when you’re limited by your own party’s ideology? You get back to your sweet spot; to the things with which you are comfortable. For the Republican Party, that’s traditionally states’ rights, choice, and free market principles. And this year they’ve added nativism and uncritical American exceptionalism.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

These are the very same ideas they put forth to improve the job market, the healthcare system, or international trade. The list goes on.

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Morning Read: Dispute over developer fees for California schools going to court

Face-off over developer fees for schools heads to court
Litigants fencing over new authority given to school districts to raise developer fees to cover classroom construction costs face an important hearing next week in Sacramento Superior Court. By Tom Chorneau, Cabinet Report

LA Unified principal selected as California’s 2016 National Distinguished Principal

Marcia Reed

Marcia S. Reed

Marcia S. Reed, principal of 186th Street Elementary School in Gardena, was selected as California’s 2016 National Distinguished Principal.

“Reed was nominated and selected by her fellow principals through a statewide search process conducted by the Association of California School Administrators,” said Elementary Principal Representative Ron Tanimura.

The National Association of Elementary School Principals established the program in 1984 to celebrate elementary and middle-level principals, who set high standards for instruction, student achievement, character and climate for their learning communities.

“At the helm of every successful school is a successful principal,” said Gail Connelly, executive director of the elementary school principals group. “Our National Distinguished Principals program provides us with an opportunity to recognize the outstanding leadership of these principals and their commitment to creating successful learning communities. Because of them, students thrive academically, teachers grow professionally, and communities are strengthened.”

Click here for the full story from LA Unified.