AALA elects new president; NoHo takes 2nd in CyperPatriot finals

school report buzzThe Associated Administrators of Los Angeles (AALA) elected a new president on March 19, with Juan A. Flecha winning 60.16 percent of the vote. Flecha beat Randall Delling, who received 39.84 percent, according to AALA’s newsletter.

Flecha will take office July 1 and will replace Judy Perez, who is retiring.

“He is currently assigned as Administrator of Operations in ESC North and has previously served as a secondary director/principal leader, high school principal and in other administrative assignments. Juan brings a wealth of experience to his position as AALA President and we are confident he will do a fine job being the voice for nearly 3,000 LAUSD certificated and classified administrators,” AALA’s newsletter said.

North Hollywood CyberPatriots

Team Azure from North Hollywood High fell just short of defending its national championship in the CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Defense Competition finals last week in Washington D.C., placing second.

The CyberPatriot competition is part of the CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Education Program, which was created by the Air Force Association to inspire high school students to pursue careers in c​yber-security. Another team from North Hollywood High and one from Franklin High School were also in D.C. competing among the 12 finalists from around the nation.

All of the teams are  part of the district’s after-school Beyond the Bell Program.

Inspirational teachers

The United Way of Greater Los Angeles last week held its second annual Inspirational Teacher Awards in a ceremony that was attended by LA Unified board members George McKenna and Monica Garcia.

Twenty-five teachers were honored, including Roxana Duenas from Roosevelt High School and Jason Torres-Rangel from UCLA Community School. The honorees were selected from over 150 nominations that were made by teachers, students and principals, according to the United Way. Click here to see photos from the event.

UCLA wins $2.5 million for innovation in teaching

And speaking of the UCLA Community School, UCLA was awarded $2.5 million this week from the state’s Department of Finance for its work to strengthen K-12 education through its UCLA Teaching Schools Initiative and the work of UCLA and its Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.

According to the Imperial Valley News:

The initiative launched six years ago with the opening of the UCLA Community School, a partnership between the UCLA and the Los Angeles Unified School District. UCLA faculty, staff and students work alongside teachers at the school to help ensure students are qualified to apply to a University of California campus. The school is the site of education research, and nurtures the development of new education strategies by UCLA professors and graduate students.

Click here to learn more about the UCLA Community School.


Morning Read: LAUSD teacher accused of racism returns to class

Brentwood teacher accused of racism returning to class
Steven Carnine was not allowed to teach at Paul Revere Charter Middle School after claims were made against him by the parent of an eighth grader. NBC Los Angeles

Classes combining kindergarten, transitional kindergarten pose challenges
Beginning in 2012-13, legislators pushed back the entry date for kindergarten and phased in transitional kindergarten for the youngest students. Ed Source

Commentary: California rightly revisits its tough-on-youth-crime stance
A 1990 anti-crime ballot measure made life-without-parole sentences the norm for killers, and many other offenders, under 18. Los Angeles Times

Three cheers for failure! Wait, what?
An education technology conference offers “lessons learned” as guidance that helps school leaders avoid mistakes. The Hechinger Report

Largest teachers union already involved in 2016 presidential race
The National Education Association, the largest U.S. teachers union, has already jumped into the 2016 presidential race. The Huffington Post

Price of LAUSD, teachers union split on evaluations: $171 million

teacher_evaluation_satisfactoryWhile the teachers union and LA Unified are united in spirit that the district should not lose $47 million in state money over faulty attendance record keeping, their disagreement on another issue could cost them nearly four times as much from Washington.

The district has until March 31 to apply for federal waiver that allows LA Unified to replace No Child Left Behind accountability rules with its own school improvement system. It is called the California Office to Reform Education (CORE) Waiver, and it would generate $171 million in federal revenue over three years.

But to win the waiver, the district and UTLA must agree on a teacher evaluation system that includes a minimum of three rankings. That has been a sticking point in contract negotiations over the past seven months. Without an agreement with the union, the district may be in jeopardy of disqualifying itself from receiving the money.

Alex Caputo Pearl, president of UTLA, says the issue is on the agenda tomorrow as part of the first mediated session between the two sides.

“It’s one of the things we’re going to hammer out in mediation,” he told LA School Report.

In 2013, the district implemented a new overall teacher evaluation system that raised performance levels to four from two. The union objected, saying it never agreed to the new terms and argued that the new system created a path to establish merit pay to reward the highest performing teachers. The union took the issue to the labor board, and a PERB judge agreed with UTLA, that the district acted unlawfully, and ordered the two sides to renegotiate the terms.

In anticipation of the looming deadline, Superintendent Ramon Cortines last month sent a letter to UTLA, suggesting that the union and the district work toward an agreement on the single issue. But it never came.

While Caputo-Pearl admitted the waiver would help shrink the district’s estimated $180 million deficit for the 2015-16 school year, he says it comes with strings attached, unlike the money generated by average daily attendance.

“[The CORE money] can only be applied to certain things,” he explained, “whereas the $47 million is General Funds. It can be generally applied to class size, staffing, and other uses. The CORE Waiver money has certain constraints.”

Cortines pushes ahead, restructures LAUSD Educational Service Centers

ISICSuperintendent Ramon Cortines made it official late yesterday, restructuring LA Unified’s Educational Service Centers into geographically based offices, a move that adds two new centers and eliminates the Intensive Support and Innovation Center that worked across the district.

The centers are regional resource offices serving schools and students within their designated boundaries; they facilitate school operations, implement directives from the board at the school level and operate as parent engagement and outreach centers. Each is run by an “Instructional Area Superintendent,” appointed by the superintendent.

Under the reorganization, schools currently in the ISIC will report to the district where they are located. What is now the North ESC will be split into two centers, Northeast and Northwest. The boundaries of the East and South ESCs will also be re-drawn to create a new Central office. The changes go into effect July 1 and require no approval by the school board.

“I have championed local control since my first tenure as Superintendent when I organized LAUSD into local districts,” Cortines said in a letter to district employees late yesterday. “I am now taking the next step toward community empowerment by organizing LAUSD into six regions that are geographically based.”

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CCSA says report on charter school fraud ‘simply inaccurate’

California Charter Schools AssociationThe California Charter School Association (CCSA) is calling “simply inaccurate” a report released yesterday that said state charter schools require more financial oversight.

The report from the Center for Popular DemocracyAlliance of Californians for Community Empowerment and Public Advocates estimated the state would lose $100 million this year from fraud, waste and mismanagement at charter schools and called for a number of changes, including regular state audits of every charter school.

In a statement released on its website, the CCSA said, “While we don’t presume to understand the motives behind this report, we do know that California is a state where the charter school sector, authorizers and legislators have come together to put into place real solutions. It is unfortunate that we continue to have similar distractions for a sector that the report itself suggests is demonstrating to be responsible users of precious public funds in addition to serving a half a million public school students well.”

The CCSA was particularly critical of the amount the report attributed to fraud, waste and mismanagement, saying, “The report’s estimate of charter fraud by simply applying a 5% assumption of fraud based on some ‘global assumptions’ without any specific analysis, simply calls the whole report into question.”

In response to the call for more financial oversight of charters, the CCSA said the report “does not do justice to the system already in place and that is actually more rigorous for charter schools” than other education agencies, in the state, including school districts.

The report pointed to several examples of past documented fraud or waste at some charter schools, but the CCSA said the examples cited were old and out of date.

“The majority of the examples cited in this report are old, from schools that have since closed, and reflect old laws that were updated to provide even greater protection,” the statement said.

Click here to read the full statement from CCSA.


LA Unified developing list of teachers at rallies to dock their pay

Teachers at  Dr. Owen Lloyd Knox Elementary School boycott a faulty meeting. (Credit: Twitter user @00dreday00)

Teachers at Knox Elementary School boycott a faulty meeting. (Credit: Twitter user @00dreday00 )

LA Unified officials today began a process of determining which teachers skipped a faculty meeting yesterday to participate in school-site rallies.

Tom Waldman, a district spokesman, said efforts are underway to learn from each school tha names of teachers and other staff who chose a rally over a meeting — a violation of the law, in the view of Superintendent Ramon Cortines. UTLA officials dismissed the warning as saber-rattling, insisting that attending the rallies violated no laws.

Waldman said is was still unclear how the district could collect a list of names — whether it would require calls to individual schools or reports from principals.

But any district employee who attended a rally would lose the equivalent of one hour of pay, he said.

Why grading teachers on test scores is not as simple as it seems

New York Times logo

By Eduardo Porter | The New York Times

In 2004, the Chinese government decided there were too many accidental deaths. China’s safety record, it decreed, should be brought in line with those of other middle-income countries. The State Council set a target: a decline in accidental deaths of 2.5 percent per year.

Provincial authorities kicked into gear. Eventually, 20 out of a total of 31 provinces adopted “no safety, no promotion” policies, hitching bureaucrats’ fate to whether they met the death ceiling. The results rolled in: by 2012 recorded accidental deaths had almost halved.

It wasn’t, however, all about increased safety. For instance, officials could reduce traffic deaths by keeping victims of severe accidents alive for eight days. They counted as accidental deaths only if the victims died within seven.

In a study of China’s declining deadly accidents, Raymond Fisman of Columbia University and Yongxiang Wang of the University of Southern California concluded that “manipulation played a dominant role.” Bureaucrats — no surprise — cheated.

This is hardly unusual. It is certainly not exclusive to China. These days, in fact, it has acquired particular importance in the debate over how to improve American education.

Click here to read the full story.

Morning Read: UTLA wants MiSiS meeting with Torlakson, Cortines

Teachers union calls for MiSiS meeting with LAUSD, state superintendent
UTLA’s president called for LA Unified’s superintendent to travel with him to Sacramento and explain the MiSiS crisis to California’s top education chief. Pasadena Star News

Parents meet with LAUSD over teacher’s alleged racist comments
Many upset were that the teacher was removed from the classroom over accusations they say have not yet been proven. NBC Los Angeles

Why is it so hard to fire bad teachers?
The heart of the issue for firing bad teachers most recently was the focus of a court case in California. The Cheat Sheet

Smarter Balanced interim assessments delayed for most students
The interim assessments were supposed to give students a way to rehearse for the Smarter Balanced assessments. Ed Source

LEAs set ambiguous goals around school climate
California’s new school climate reporting mandates are part of a sweeping restructuring of the funding and accountability of the state’s school system. SI&A Cabinet Report

As market surges, schools struggle to find the best tech products
Technology-infused classrooms are popping up around the country. The Hechinger Report

LA teachers boycott faculty meetings to press for contract demands

UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl outside Dorsey High School

UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl outside Dorsey High School

Members of the Los Angeles teachers union, UTLA, staged more school site rallies today, these to call attention to contract demands that are now in the hands of an independent mediator to resolve.

At one of the rallies, at Dorsey High SchoolSharonne Hapuarachy, an English teacher and union chapter chair, said, “The people who are here today are not here for more of a pay increase. They’re actually out here because we’re holding out for the district to move on our school site demands including lower class sizes nurses and counselors and librarians at every school.”

The rallies played out at an hour many schools were to have held faculty sessions. Superintendent Ramon Cortines warned the teachers that boycotting or engaging in other forms of work stoppage is unlawful and in violation of state regulations.

About two dozen teachers, nurses and other school employees at Dorsey also heard from Alex Caputo-Pearl, the UTLA president. He conceded that rallying during faculty meeting time carried a risk, saying, “We are proud that we are in a fight that is much larger than a one hour pay dock if the superintendent goes through with that.”

Caputo-Pearl said teachers and others were boycotting at schools all across the city, an action scheduled just ahead of the first meeting between union and district negotiators with the independent state mediator assigned to bring the sides together on a new contract.

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Cortines proposing to overhaul LA Unified Education Service Centers

LAUSD Superintedent Ramon Cortines


Superintendent Ramon Cortines is at it again: More restructuring!

This time he is proposing an overhaul of LA Unified’s Education Service Centers, regional resource offices that facilitate school operations, implement directives from the board at the school level, and serve as parent outreach centers. The plan includes an expansion of the centers to six from five regional offices.

Earlier this month, Cortines informed the school board he intends re-draw the ESC borders to cover more “geographically based” areas for the 2015-16 school year, and eliminate the Intensive Support and Innovation Center that worked across the district.

The ISIC office was created under former Superintendent John Deasy in an effort to provide more targeted services for students with unique needs, everything from special needs services to gifted and talented instruction. The district’s pilot schools were also placed under the purview of ISIC. In all, it now serves 149 schools and approximately 100,000 students throughout LA Unified.

It is unclear how Cortines intends to provide these services within the local ESCs, whether each area center will hire new coordinators or if those duties will be taken over by existing administrators. The district did not respond to requests for comment.

Regional Superintendent Tommy Chang has been at the helm of ISIC since his appointment by Deasy, but is leaving the district at the end of the year to take over as superintendent of Boston Public Schools.

Cortines’ plan is not final; it requires a vote by board to go forward.

In a letter to the board, Cortines said, “While I understand the thinking behind the creation of a non-geographically-based ESC like the ISIC, I believe the District’s current organization creates unnecessary complications for principals and parents.”

One problem under the existing structure, he says, is that “some schools on the same campus may report to different ESCs, which can lead to confusion when issues arise that impact the entire campus.” Dismantling ISIC, he said, solves that issue.

He also argued that the reorganization would produce a more equitable distribution of students and schools among the ESCs by splitting the North office into two service centers, Northeast and Northwest. The new map would also create two smaller ESCs in the southeast and central regions of the district, two of the highest needs areas within LA Unified.

“The improved balance of students and schools among ESCs would provide each center with a more manageable span of control,” Cortines said.

* Corrects earlier version that said a vote by the board is required. It is not.


Report finds lack of proper fraud oversight at charters in state

Magnolia-Charter-Schools-governanceCalifornia is extremely vulnerable to fraud at charter schools and as a result can expect to lose $100 million in wasted tax money in 2015, a new report released today finds.

The report from the Center for Popular Democracy, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment and Public Advocates found that there are “structural oversight weaknesses” in the state’s charter system.

Among the problems it found:

  • Oversight depends heavily on self-reporting by charter schools.
  • General auditing techniques alone do not uncover fraud.
  • Oversight bodies lack adequate staffing to detect and eliminate fraud.

California has the largest number of charter schools in the nation — 1,184, according to the California Charter Schools Association. The number in LA Unified grew this year to 285, 231 of which are independent.

The report recommends a few solutions, including requiring oversight agencies, such as the State Comptroller’s Office and Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team, to conduct audits on charter schools once every three years, and not only when requested to do so.


“There’s no proactive system for auditing California’s charter schools by state officials… They wait until someone has whisteblowers come forward and the media has put something out, but there’s not a regular system for auditing schools,” said Kyle Serrette, director of education at the Center for Popular Democracy, in a call with reporters.

The report stated that over $81 million in fraud has been uncovered at charter schools to date, but that it is likely the “tip of the iceberg” and estimated the state will lose $100 million this year alone to waste, fraud and mismanagement at charters.

“We have a situation where we are losing millions of dollars to fraud in the charter sector every single year. We now know what the problem is,” Serrette said, adding that the backers of the report will be pushing state lawmakers for policy changes based on the findings of the report.

Serrette also said there are other states that do a better job of applying rigorous oversight of charters.

“Pennsylvania is a great example where the auditor general audits all of Pennsylvania’s charter schools every three to five years and the districts, which tend to be the authorizers there, they do the same thing,” Serrette said.

Click here to read the full report.


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Hillary Clinton caught between reformers and teacher unions

New York Times logo

By Maggie Haberman | The New York Times

The last time she ran for president, Hillary Rodham Clinton did not have to take a position on the Common Core, teacher evaluations or Race to the Top.

She won the endorsement of one of the nation’s largest teachers’ unions in 2007 after deploring the use of standardized tests and the underfunding of the No Child Left Behind law by President George W. Bush’s administration.

Now, as she prepares for a likely second run at the White House, Mrs. Clinton — who largely avoided domestic policy when she was secretary of state — is re-entering the fray like a Rip Van Winkle for whom the terrain on education standards has shifted markedly, with deep new fissures opened up in the Democratic Party.

Click here to read the full story.

Morning Read: 4 years to fully implement Common Core in CA

Half of state teachers not ready to teach Common Core, top educator says
The president of the state Board of Education believes it will take at least four years to fully roll out the new standards in state schools. KPCC

Inequality in California’s K-12 schools
It’s been just over 30 years since war was declared on America’s public schools. San Diego Free Press

Literacy startups race to get news
LightSail Education has gained traction in several big districts across the country, including LA Unified. Ed Surge

Dates for new Common Core assessments vary by district
Between now and mid-June, approximately 3.2 million California students will take new online tests aligned with the Common Core State Standards. Ed Source

What makes a good teacher?
New York is considering a plan to tie teacher evaluations to student test scores. New York Times

UTLA moving ahead with boycott in face of district threats

UTLA rally at Grand Park

UTLA rally at Grand Park

Despite threats by LA Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines to withhold wages, the teachers union, UTLA, is urging teachers to boycott faculty meetings tomorrow at schools across the district.

“The Superintendent has threatened to dock the pay of employees who participate.  We know what we are doing is right, and this scare tactic will not stop us,” union officials said in a statement today.

The boycotts are part of the union’s escalating actions in its campaign for “Schools LA Students Deserve,” a platform that includes reducing class sizes, hiring more school counselors, nurses and full-time librarians; and winning an 8.5 percent pay raise.

Contract negotiations between the district and UTLA have stalled, and the two sides are headed to their first mediation session Wednesday.

In a letter to district employees last week, Cortines said he reminded UTLA “that boycotting faculty meetings, or engaging in any other forms of work stoppage, are unlawful and in violation” of state regulations. He also called the boycotts “irresponsible.”

But UTLA contends members have boycotted faculty meetings “many times in past years” and has refused to back down. Teachers plan to rally at campuses after school tomorrow at 2:30.

Teacher shortage around state leading to ‘employees’ market’

teacher prep stats

(Credit: California Commission on Teacher Credentialing)

As LA Unified is currently laying off hundreds of teachers and other employees to deal with a looming budget crisis, there is perhaps one piece of good news for any teacher getting a pink slip: it has become an “employees’ market” for teachers in the state.

Due to a growing shortage, many large districts are struggling to hire enough qualified teachers. The shortage is due in part to the number of students enrolled in teacher preparation programs in the state being cut in half from 2008 to 2013. The stark numbers were cited in an October report by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

In 2008, when the recession hit and thousands of teacher began getting laid off in the state, there were over 42,000 students studying to become teachers. By 2013, the number was down to 19,933, the data shows.

The Sacramento Bee offered some theories as to the current teacher shortage beyond student enrollment in prep programs:

The inclination is to think that there are thousands of teachers who were let go during the recession and who are ready and willing to fill these jobs. Unfortunately, few younger, less-experienced teachers hung around after seeing their jobs disappear; many chose different careers.

The shortage has led other districts like San Francisco Unified to struggle to hire enough teachers.

“It’s become an employees’ market versus an employers’ market,” Scott Gaiber, San Francisco Unified’s director of certificated staffing and recruitment, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “There is a lot more competition for talent.”

Substitute teachers are in high demand as a result of the shortage. One sub told the Sacramento Bee that he recently received 15 requests to work San Juan Unified School District classrooms on a Friday.

In an op-ed in northern California’s Press DemocratSteven D. Herrington, Sonoma County’s superintendent of schools, proposed at least one possible solution to the crisis:

“Tuition fees at state colleges and universities could be waived for the fifth year of teacher preparation education for students who successfully complete the program and secure employment in a California public school,” Herrington wrote.





Dozens rally in support of Paul Revere teacher accused of racism

Paul Revere charterThe details of a lawsuit filed last week were shocking: a teacher at Paul Revere Charter Middle School and Magnet Center in Brentwood allegedly used offensive racial slurs in class, and said that black people were not smart.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a mixed-race student at the school and led to the removal the teacher, Steven Carnine, from the classroom while the district investigates the claims.

But now a group of students and parents are crying foul as they participated in a rally today attended by dozens in support of Carnine, NBC Los Angeles reported. The supporters said the teacher did not make the comments he is accused of or that they were taken out of context.

An online petition asking that Carnine not be fired has been signed by more than 600 people. In the comments section of the petition, some students who said they were in the class in question state that Carnine is innocent of the accusations.

“Mr. Carnine said that stereotypes were wrong, but sadly they are still in our world today,” said one poster identified as Katie T. “He was discussing these stereotypes with us in order to help us understand history and how different races were treated and sometimes still are. He said that SOME PEOPLE think that black people are not smart and only good at sports.”

Katie T. also wrote that Carnine did not use the “n-word” when talking about the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln, which the lawsuit claims he did.

“Mr. Carnine discussed how many people didn’t not like Lincoln, because they claimed he was an n-lover. He did not even use the word; he spelt it out and said ‘excuse my language, I really do not like using this word, but this is how harshly the African American people were treated,'” she wrote.

The claims of those in support of Carnine are in stark contrast to the details of the lawsuit, which accused him of using blunt, racially offensive language when also talking about Jews and Michael Brown, the black male who was shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri that set off a series of protests around the nation.

The lawsuit also claimed the school’s principal, Christopher Perdigao, ignored repeated complaints from the plaintiff’s parents.

LAUSD officials said they were reviewing the lawsuit.

“District policy is adamant that all students are to be treated with respect. The safety of students is L.A. Unified’s highest priority,” the district said in a statement, according to City News Service.

Successful appeal put teacher in LAUSD’s top 10 salary list

judgeThe release of salary records for all LA Unified employees by the Los Angeles Daily News on Friday produced a list of the district’s highest paid officials in 2014, with one apparent anomaly: an elementary school teacher.

While nine of the top ten earners are headquarters administrators, starting with former Superintendent John Deasy, who made $439,998 the year he was ousted, the odd name on the list is Jose Martinez, a grade school teacher who earned $235,329.

Martinez was removed from his job by the district in November 2011, though it’s unclear under what circumstances. He fought the decision, appealing to the Office of Administrative Hearings and the Commission on Professional Competence, which sided with Martinez and ordered the district to reinstate him and the salary he would have otherwise been paid.

According to a statement from LA Unified’s legal department, “The District unsuccessfully appealed the decision to reinstate the teacher, entitling Mr. Martinez to reinstatement and approximately $164,564.92 in back pay.”

The lump sum covered unpaid earnings from “November 2011 to March 2014, which explains the unusually high salary reporting in 2014,” district officials said.

In case you missed it, here are the top 10 paid LA Unified employees in 2014, courtesy of the Daily News:

John Deasy, superintendent of schools: $439,998

Michelle King, deputy superintendent: $282,792

David Holmquist, general counsel: $264,407

Mark Hovatter, chief facilities executive: $248,841

Jose Martinez, elementary teacher: $235,329

Megan Reilly, chief financial officer: $231,648

Janalyn Glymph, personnel director: $204,331

Matthew Hill, chief strategy officer: $203,743

Gregory Garcia, director, facilities project E: $200,904

Vivian Ekchian, chief labor negotiator: $199,034

Commentary: HBO’s hipster show ‘lies’ about charter schools, race


By Joshua Leibner | Salon

Michelle Pierson, a 40-ish mother of two, is in a state of confusion over her direction in life and finds herself wandering down the main drag of her gentrifying, hip Northeast Los Angeles neighborhood. She hears a confident voice coming from Eagle Rock City Hall that entices her in.

Inside, David Garcia, a handsome, charismatic Latino, is speaking stirringly to a group of concerned parents. He says, “There’s like bird shit all over the place — I mean you got kids eating five-day-old sloppy joes. Our public school system is broken. I don’t think we can fix the old schools but I’ll tell you what we can do. We can build a new one. Isn’t a great school no more than a box and an inspired teacher inside of it? We need a great charter school here in Eagle Rock. Let’s create a place for our children to flourish. There’s a big empty hole in our community. And if we don’t do anything about it, our kids are going to be more disenfranchised and lost than we are now.”

Michelle is entranced, and suddenly her life has found a purpose.

Charter school dogma has made it to the Big Time: It just got its own soapbox on the Duplass brothers’ HBO Sunday night series “Togetherness.”

Click here to read the full story.

Morning Read: LAUSD releases salary info for all employees

Former LAUSD superintendent Deasy’s pay nearly $440,000 last year
LA Unified’s former superintendent, John Deasy, collected more than any other employee last year, $439,998. San Gabriel Valley Tribune

LAUSD educators typically earned $75,504 last year
The typical Los Angeles Unified educator collected $75,504 in 2014, according to pay records. Whitter Daily News

Granada Hills wins state Academic Decathlon
Granada Hills Charter High has won the California 2015 Academic Decathlon title in a weekend competition in Sacramento. Los Angeles Times

Brown’s adult ed plan gives new authority to outsiders
School officials are worried that core adult education services may not receive priority under the governor’s proposed finance structure. SI&A Cabinet Report

Cuomo fights rating system in which few teachers are bad
Around the state, administrators, teachers and parents have been protesting the governor’s proposals. New York Times

How one California superintendent changed troubled schools
Long Beach Superintendent Christopher Steinhauser credits his team more than his own leadership for a decade’s worth of improvement. The Hechinger Report

Stoner parents challenging LAUSD for extending co-location deadline

icef public schools logoYet again, LA Unified finds itself in the soup because of a computer malfunction.

Friends of Stoner, a group fighting to block the co-location of another charter school at Stoner Avenue Elementary in Palms, has met with lawyers to discuss legal options against LA Unified for extending the application deadline by three days.

Frustrated Stoner parents, opposed to sharing the campus with nearby ICEF Vista Elementary Academy, contend that the district does not have authority to change the state-set Nov 1 deadline without permission from the Department of Education, which it appears district officials did not solicit.

The district prolonged the submission window for charter schools seeking classroom space on traditional public school campuses after the online application program went down on the day applications were due. This is the second year the district has accepted electronic applications.

“The deadline is the deadline and you can’t arbitrarily change it by three days not for ICEF and not for anyone,” Adam Benitez, president of the group told LA School Report. “What authority do they have to supersede state regulations? “

“The district is basically saying, regulations be damned, we’re going to do whatever we want!” Benitez said. He said the group has already contacted the office of the state Attorney General and is awaiting a response.

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