LA Unified, teachers meeting today to discuss a contract

LAUSD Teachers' salaries

Negotiators for LA Unified and its teachers union, UTLA, had planned to meet today to discuss a new contract for teachers, based on the district’s latest offer. The district described it as an improvement over the initial offer, but days before the offer was officially made, the union dismissed it as a “non-starter” and continued the threat of a strike. Meanwhile, courtesy of the LA Daily News, here’s a look at the rate of salary increase for LA Unified teachers over the last 10 years.

Previous Posts: Teachers union calls district contract offer ‘a non-starter’; JUST IN: LAUSD sweetens contract offer to teachers union; UTLA could start another academic year without a contract

Report: Poor induction programs lead to high teacher turnover

 

Teachers LAUSDVia S&I Cabinet Report | By Alisha Kirby

Much of the disproportionately high rate of teacher turnover in hard-to-staff schools serving high-poverty students can be attributed to a lack of quality induction programs for beginning teachers, according to guidance released earlier this month.

Roughly half a million U.S. teachers either move or leave the profession each year – attrition that costs the United States up to $2.2 billion annually – with 40 to 50 percent of new teachers leaving the profession after five years, according to research cited in On the Path to Equity: Improving the Effectiveness of Beginning Teachers.

Read full article here

Morning Read: Judges rule against LAT on teacher IDs

Judges rule against letting public see LAUSD teachers’ performance
The public has no right to know the names of Los Angeles Unified School District teachers in connection with their job performance ratings, according to a court ruling issued Wednesday. LA Times


Gov. Jerry Brown resists unzipping school construction wallet
Commentary: There’s a school construction bond bill that has sailed through the Assembly and five committees with 122 “yes” votes — Democrat and Republican — and not a single “no.” But its chances of passing the Senate and making it to the November state ballot seem slim. LA Times


LAUSD, teachers’ union divided by pay raises, class sizes
Los Angeles Unified administrators and teacher union leaders will enter their first round of contract negotiations this afternoon divided by roughly $280 million per year for pay raises and even further apart on matters that directly affect classrooms. LA Daily News


Unions put teachers on streets — for votes
Teachers unions are struggling to protect their political clout, but as the midterm elections approach, they’re fighting back with their most popular asset: the teachers themselves. Politico


LA schools cutting budget for mental health for special ed students
Next school year, the Los Angeles Unified School District is cutting the budget for psychiatric social workers for special education students by 15 percent, raising fears among the special ed social workers that their numbers will be reduced. KPCC

Magnolia going into court to keep 2 of its charters open

Magnolia Charter School playground LAUSD

Magnolia Public Schools (MPS) is going into a Los Angeles superior court tomorrow to ask a judge to keep open two of its schools that LA Unified wants to close.

The district denied the renewal applications for Magnolia Science Academies 6 and 7 after an independent audit determined that MPS is insolvent. The audit uncovered a number of fiscal management violations.  

The hearing, before Judge Luis Lavin, involves Magnolia’s request for a preliminary injunction; lawyers for Magnolia are not seeking a decision on the merits of the District’s claims. Magnolia is asking the court to allow it to continue to operate pending the outcome of the case.

The court has scheduled an Oct. 14 hearing to consider setting a date for trial.

Meanwhile, the California Charter Schools Association says Magnolia parents are planning to protest at the courthouse tomorrow morning in support of keeping the schools open. Tomorrow’s hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

Previous Posts: Magnolia charter troubles having an impact beyond LA Unified; JUST IN: LAUSD expands probe into Magnolia charter schools; ‘Fiscal mismanagement’ cited in closing 2 Magnolia charters

Morning Read: Charter school in south LA damaged by fire

L.A. charter school gutted by fast-moving blaze
A charter school organization is scrambling to find an alternative location after a fire swept through the campus Tuesday. Animo South Los Angeles Charter High School served 600 students, but school was not in session and officials believe the structure was empty. LA Times


Gloria Romero: Too pretty for education policy?
Opinion: Before you read any further, glance in a mirror. Do you think you’re pretty? If you are female and answer yes, you might not be smart enough to understand education policy, so just stop reading. Sounds incredulous, right? Sounds downright sexist? Absolutely. LA Register


Child immigrants unlikely to flood any one school district
Despite growing concerns that the influx of unaccompanied child immigrants into the U.S. will overwhelm local government services in some communities, social advocates say public schools are not likely to be part of that turmoil. S&I Cabinet Report


Agreement reached on ‘willful defiance’ bill
After several months of negotiations, Gov. Jerry Brown and advocates for less punitive disciplinary policies have compromised on a bill that would limit schools’ ability to suspend or expel students for “willful defiance,” according to Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, who is sponsoring the bill. EdSource


Speech therapy rebooted by use of online resource
Online speech therapy, once less favored than in-person treatment, is becoming a more commonly used resource as districts struggle to find and afford speech-language therapists. PresenceLearning, based out of San Francisco, works with schools across the country providing online speech as well as occupational therapy services for K-12 students. S&I Cabinet Report

LA Times endorses George McKenna for school board

 

Logo_LATimesVia LA Times Editorial Board

Two candidates with different styles and viewpoints are vying to join the Los Angeles Unified school board, replacing longtime board member Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte, who died in December. Both of the candidates also hold different beliefs than did LaMotte, who was a fiery opponent of most school reform. This is an opportunity for voters in District 1, which includes South Los Angeles and sections of West Los Angeles, to make themselves heard. That’s especially true, sad to say, because voter turnout on this one-race election day, Aug. 12, is expected to be below 10%. The only good thing that can be said about such low participation is that those who do turn out to vote will be making their ballots count.

Read the full endorsement here

Deasy joins President Obama in ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ update

LA Unified Superintendent John Deasy joined other education officials at The White House yesterday as President Obama announced new partnerships to help young men of color gain greater access to programs offering support from pre-K through high school.

The program, which includes private companies, nonprofits and the NBA as participants, represents a $100 million expansion of My Brother’s Keeper, a White House initiative launched early this year.

LA Unified and dozens of other big school districts are involved in the program, which carries goals that been too distant for man black and Hispanic young men, including high attendance rates, fewer suspensions and expulsions and higher graduations rates.

Speaking to The New York Times, Deasy said improving learning and lifetime opportunities for boys of color is “a deep moral commitment issue.” In the video above, Deasy talks to Gwen Ifill of PBS.

CA low among states in children’s well-being, says new report

children's well-being Kids Count Data book LAUSDCalifornia ranks 40th among the 50 states in children’s overall well-being, according to The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 25th edition of the KIDS COUNT Data Book, released today in partnership with Children Now, a children’s health and education research, policy, and advocacy organization based in Oakland.

The Data Book ranks each state and the District of Columbia on 16 key indicators across four fundamental domains: Economic Well-Being, Education, Health and Family and Community.

In measures of children’s well-being, California highest ranking is Health (26th) and lowest is Economic Well-Being (48th).

“Knowing our vibrant and diverse communities, our incredible intellectual and financial resources and our reputation for leadership and innovation, there is no excuse for California to be ranked 40th in children’s well-being,” Ted Lempert, president of Children Now, said in an emailed statement. “We simply haven’t invested enough in our children in spite of much greater capacity to do so.”

California ranks 11th among the states in per capita state and local revenue yet much lower, 36th, in per pupil education spending. The state also ranks toward the bottom in Education, 39th.

“The good news is the State is already taking steps to improve,” said Lempert, citing the enactment last year of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and this year’s budget investment in public education. “These actions were critical, given that as of 2012, more than half a million children ages three and four (53 percent) were not attending preschool and 18 percent of high school students did not graduate on time.”

The 2014 Data Book highlights a bright spot for California, in a 63 percent decline in teen birth rate. In 1990, California’s teen birth rate was 71 births per 1,000 females ages 15 to 19; as of 2012 the birth rate had dropped to 26 per 1,000.

With a health ranking of 26th among the states, California has seen some gains in children’s health. In 1990, roughly 1 in 6 California children (17 percent) was uninsured. By the most recent estimates, approximately 1 in 12 children (8 percent) live without health insurance.

The complete report is available here.

Teachers union calls district contract offer ‘a non-starter’

teachers union raise salary UTLA Contract NegotiationsUTLA, the teachers union, has called LA Unified’s latest contract offer “a non-starter,” signaling a difficult resumption of bargaining when talks resume on Thursday.

“Just days before a scheduled bargaining session, LAUSD today presented UTLA with a revised contract offer that falls short of what is needed to achieve the schools that LA students deserve,” the union said in a statement issued late yesterday.

The union response came hours after LA School Report reported the district’s new offer — essentially a three-year deal with raises of 2 percent over the first two years and a 2.5 percent increase in the third year, with raises conditional on the financial state of the district.

The district’s first offer was a one-year deal with a 2 percent increase. Both offers included a 2 percent bonus for the 2013-2014 school year.

“Keep in mind educators have not had a salary increase in seven years and took what amounted to an eight percent salary reduction during the recession years,” the union said. “Throughout this period the cost of living has increased—putting an even greater burden on educators.”

The union’s salary demand has remained vague throughout, with leaders pressing for a 17.6 percent increase over an unspecified number of years. District officials say the pay raises offered amount to a compounded 8.6 percent increase over three years and, when factoring in health care coverage and other benefits, a 26.3 percent increase.

The new union president, Alex Caputo-Pearl, has also sustained his saber-rattling for a strike in recent days, urging teachers to start saving in case negotiators reach an impasse and union leaders call for a job action to gain leverage.

The union response, which dismissed other changes proposed by the district as not useful, including how teachers are evaluated, came only after details of the offer were made public. Union officials have had the contract offer for several days but remained silent.

Negotiators have scheduled a second bargaining session in early August, before the new school year starts, and another before the month is out. 

Morning Read: New political action committee joins board race

New political action committee forms in L.A. school board race
A new political action committee has formed to influence the outcome of Los Angeles school board races, filling a gap created when a group of civic leaders, which includes former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, decided to sit out next month’s key upcoming election. LA Times


White House honoring LAUSD cafeteria worker who fought for raise
A member of the union bargaining team that negotiated a $15-an-hour wage for Los Angeles Unified School District cafeteria workers, custodians and other school service employees will be honored at the White House today as a “Champion of Change.” Pasadena Stars-News


Setting the record straight on tenure
Opinion: when opponents claim this lawsuit is an attack on teachers and their rights, that argument is more than disingenuous. It is disrespectful to the parents. And it is dead wrong for our kids. It is time to stop seeing due process and due progress as competing goals. Here is the reality. NY Daily News


Six California districts join Obama’s initiative
Six California school districts are among 60 in the nation that are joining President Barack Obama’s initiative, “My Brother’s Keeper,” which supports African-American and Latino boys, beginning in preschool. Edsource


UC Berkeley prof on teacher collaboration, future of LA schools
Teachers in charter and pilot Los Angeles public schools collaborate with and trust each other significantly more than teachers in L.A. Unified’s traditional large public high schools. KPCC

Opinion: Teachers unions oppose change — why?

wsj-wallstreetjournal-convertedVia Wall Street Journal | By Antonio Villaraigosa

President John F. Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” This message has apparently been lost on some people in our teachers unions who used their recent national conventions in Los Angeles and Denver to argue against desperately needed changes in our public schools.

At a time when only one in 10 low-income children is earning a four-year college degree and two out of three jobs of the future will require one, change is needed. At a time when more than half of young people attending community college need to retake high-school classes because the education they received was not rigorous enough, change is needed. At a time when American 15-year-olds trail their counterparts in 30 countries in math, 23 in science and 20 in reading, change is needed.

For some time now, teachers, elected officials, community, business and nonprofit organizations have advanced bold changes in education. America is raising standards, investing in teachers, rewriting curriculum, bringing technology into the classroom and exploring new learning models like public charter schools that are getting results in higher graduation and college-enrollment rates.

Read full story here

Morning Read: POTUS gains support for minority education

Obama to report widening of initiative for black and Latino boys
President Obama will announce on Monday that 60 of the nation’s largest school districts are joining his initiative to improve the educational futures of young African-American and Hispanic boys, beginning in preschool and extending through high school graduation. NY Times


Beyond the factory model
A foundation-funded experiment is testing whether “blended learning” can personalize instruction in eight Oakland schools. Blended learning combines brick-and-mortar schooling with online education “with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace” of learning. Education Next


New superintendent contract gives a reward for incompetence
Editorial: When José L. Banda takes over as superintendent for the Sacramento City Unified School District on Aug. 1, he will earn an annual salary of $290,000 – a $20,000-a-year raise from his current post running the larger Seattle Public Schools. Sac Bee


Teachers union leader raises strike possibility
The newly elected chief of Los Angeles Unified School District’s teachers union has told members a strike is viable option as the union continues its battle for a 17.6 percent pay raise. LA Register


Charter schools: Audit finds missing, misused funds at LA network
The Los Angeles Unified school district is investigating a network of eight charter schools for misuse of public school funds. An audit showed Magnolia Public Schools used classroom cash to help six non-employees with immigration costs. KPCC

PAC spending for Johnson gives him $200,000 advantage

ballot box money JohnsonAs the week comes to a close, Alex Johnson has expanded his overall lead in financial support over George McKenna in their quest to win election as the new District 1 board member in LA Unified, according to the latest figures from the City Ethics Commission.

At mid-day, he held the same ratio of support, about 8-to-1, in individual contributions that he had as the week started — now, $47,646 to $6,450.

But expenditures on behalf of his campaign have jumped considerably.

Today, the figurees show that money spent by outside Political Action Committees on behalf of Johnson’s campaign has doubled, to a $200,000-plus advantage over McKenna from a $100,000-plus advantage early in the week.

Also, with less than a month before the Aug. 12 election, the figures show Johnson holding a sharp advantage in cash on hand. By the latest numbers, he has more than $46,000 to spend while McKenna has only $2,258.

One caveat for all of Johnson’s money lead continues, however: McKenna remains well-known and popular in the district, and voter participation is expected to be lower than the usual turnout for local elections, especially ones that have the day to themselves. 

Also this week, each candidate picked up an endorsement from a sitting board member. Monica Ratliff endorsed McKenna while Monica Garcia appeared at a fundraiser for Johnson.

Previous Posts: Johnson outpacing McKenna in school board race for money; LA Fed’s PAC recommends Johnson for LAUSD board seat; McKenna, Johnson re-launch campaigns for school board seat

Morning Read: Vergara splits Tuck and Torlakson campaigns

Vergara ruling becomes campaign issue
State Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate Marshall Tuck this week launched a petition calling on his opponent, incumbent Superintendent Tom Torlakson, not to appeal a lawsuit ruling that struck down statutes giving California teachers firing protections and rights to tenure and seniority. EdSource


Charter school integrates ‘deeper learning’
Deeper learning is an education concept that’s received increasing attention in recent years; it’s woven into the Common Core State Standards and is being implemented in a growing number of schools nationwide. In its simplest terms it means just what the name implies: learning that goes beyond rote memorization and the superficial mastery of facts to promote a deeper level of understanding. EdSource


US Department of Justice blasts California’s English learner monitoring
Officials with the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Justice said in a court filing Monday they’re troubled California officials did not act on a 2007 student census that found 20,000 English learner students had received no specialized instruction. KPCC


‘Biliterate’ California high school graduates up 30 percent
A record number of graduating high schoolers achieved an academic standard known as “biliteracy,” jumping from 19,000 students last year to 24,513 in 2014, according to the California Department of Education. Being biliterate is more than being bilingual. KPCC

Garcia 2nd board member to endorse — Johnson is her guy

Monica Garcia LAUSD School BoardMonica Garcia, who represents LA Unified’s District 2, has become the second district board member to endorse one of the candidates running for the District 1 seat, last held by the late Marguerite LaMotte.

Garcia is the “special guest” at fundraiser tonight in Hancock Park for Alex Johnson, the Mark Ridley-Thomas aide who is opposing George McKenna in the Aug. 12 runoff.

Garcia’s appearance comes a few days after Monica Ratliff, the District 6 representative, threw her support behind McKenna.

Apart from the possibility each of the Monicas faces, the prospect of working alongside a new member she didn’t endorse, the expressions of support are entirely predictable.

Garcia is a well-known proponent of charter schools and overall school reform — her website carries the headline “Reform The L.A. Way,” and much of Johnson’s support has come from a political action committee affiliated with the California Charter Schools Association.

Ratliff, a former teacher, is more closely aligned with traditional schools and United Teachers Los Angeles, the local teachers union whose PAC is supporting McKenna.

The fundraiser is being hosted by Ben Paul, chief executive of the nationwide program After-School All-Stars, which provides activities for students beyond the daily final bell.

Previous Posts: McKenna is the union candidate, but CTA gave to Johnson backers; Ratliff forgoes neutrality, endorsing McKenna in board race; Johnson outpacing McKenna in school board race for money

Commentary: When educational options reverse fate of location

New OCRcom logo final 3

Via OC Register | by Jalen Rose

Many young people in America today face a harsh reality. Their fate in life is determined by their ZIP code. For an overwhelming number of African Americans and other minorities, having the wrong ZIP code keeps you from a high school diploma, a college degree, and a future that offers you opportunities that match your talents.

That’s wrong. And it’s entirely avoidable.

We are not assigned to certain grocery stores or restaurants based on our ZIP codes, which is why it makes no sense that between K-12, children are required to attend a school solely based on where they live.

The fact of the matter is that the high school graduation rate for African American males is just 52 percent – 26 percentage points below the national average of their white counterparts. In other words, more than half of all African American children in America will never have the basic skills to compete in the 21st century workforce. Odds are many of those children will turn to crime, violence or drugs, causing problems for every single American who pays taxes or simply seeks to live in a society that allows people to realize their full potential.

There is an obvious solution at hand to deal with this chronic crisis – educational choice.

Read the full story here

Koch nonprofit providing ‘liberty-based’ course for HS students

HUFFINGTON-POST-IconVia Huffington Post | by Christina Wilkie

In the spring of 2012, Spenser Johnson, a junior at Highland Park High School in Topeka, Kansas, was unpacking his acoustic bass before orchestra practice when a sign caught his eye. “Do you want to make money?” it asked. The poster encouraged the predominantly poor students at Highland Park to enroll in a new, year-long course that would provide lessons in basic economic principles and practical instruction on starting a business.

Students would receive generous financial incentives including startup capital and scholarships after graduation. The course would begin that fall. Johnson eagerly signed up.

In some ways, the class looked like a typical high school business course, taught in a Highland Park classroom by a Highland Park teacher. But it was actually run by Youth Entrepreneurs, a nonprofit group created and funded primarily by Charles G. Koch, the billionaire chairman of Koch Industries.

Read the full story here

Morning read: National poll shows public suport for preschool

Poll shows support for public preschool funding
In a new national poll conducted by a bipartisan research team, respondents voiced their strong support for expanding public preschool, echoing other recent surveys on the issue. EdSource


Beverly Hills High School principal files lawsuit against district
The principal of Beverly Hills High School filed a federal lawsuit against the school district Wednesday, alleging that officials routinely ignored his complaints of racial discrimination and retaliated against him through attacks in the media, harassment and by denying job opportunities to him and his family. LA Times


Summer school now a given for high achievers, but it’ll cost them
California state law forbids public schools to charge for classes. To get around that, this and other public school districts – including Manhattan Beach, Arcadia, and San Marino – have set up private foundations to run their summer schools. At Palos Verdes, the foundation charges students $585 per summer school class. KPCC


The invisible cigarette burns
Commentary: New data from the California Department of Public Health found that more than 60% of Californians have experienced at least one form of childhood trauma, and 25% have experienced three or more. Childhood trauma is the largest public health crisis in America, and too few people are talking about it. LA Fund

Morning Read: California schools mislabeling English learners

California ‘English learner’ tests incorrectly label bilingual kids
Arianna Anderson is one of 180,000 students enrolled in the Los Angeles Unified School District’s program for English learners. Over 90 percent of students in the program speak Spanish. Most everyone else speaks Armenian, Korean or Filipino. And Arianna? “I’m not an English learner,” the 9-year-old said with a shrug. KPCC


Better-educated public school kids — for a price
Editorial: It’s laudable when parents do all they can to bolster their children’s education. But they go too far when their foundations, which supposedly exist to help all students in the district, offer for-credit classes only to those students whose parents can afford to pay for them. Public schools shouldn’t play along with a system that gives some students an academic head start over others. LA Times


How Oakland’s public schools are fighting to save black boys
Four years ago, the Oakland Unified School District launched the office of African American Male Achievement (AAMA) – the first and only school district in the country with an office explicitly dedicated to lifting the prospects of black boys. MSNBC


Allegations against ex-teacher at Marlborough School investigated
The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating allegations that a teacher carried out an “inappropriate physical relationship” with a student at one of Los Angeles’ most prestigious private schools. LA Daily News


Teacher union conference concludes with support for tenure laws
Wrapping up its national convention in downtown Los Angeles on Monday, members of one of the nation’s largest teachers’ union turned their attention Monday to tenure laws. The American Federation of Teachers panel featuring educators from out of state shared their personal observations to bolster why current tenure laws work. LA Daily News

Ratliff forgoes neutrality, endorsing McKenna in board race

Board member Monica Ratliff

Board member Monica Ratliff

Monica Ratliff, who was elected to the LA Unified school board last year, became the first member of the board to take sides in the District 1 school board race, endorsing George McKenna over Alex Johnson, McKenna’s campaign announced late in the day.

No other board member has expressed public support for either of the contenders in the Aug. 12 runoff.

“It is with the utmost respect for his long history of success and dedication to students that I wholeheartedly endorse George McKenna for School Board,” Ratliff was quoted as saying in the announcement. “His many years of experience as a dedicated and successful teacher, principal, and administrator will continue to serve the students and parents of District 1 well.”

McKenna, a retired school administrators with decades of experience, said, “I am humbled to have earned the support of superb educator Mónica Ratliff. Since the voters elected her to the LAUSD board in 2013 she has proven to be a deliberate member and strong advocate for our children. I look forward to working with her and all the board members when the people elect me to be their school board representative on August 12th.”

Ratliff, who represents the East Valley District 6 on the board, did not immediately respond to an email message, seeking confirmation of her endorsement. The message also sought to ask how she would forge a working relationship with Johnson if he were to defeat McKenna.

In the announcement, McKenna’s campaign manager, Jewett Walker, cited Ratliff’s successful campaign last year over Antonio Sanchez as similar to McKenna’s campaign against Johnson. Sanchez had raised far more money than Ratliff, and McKenna is far behind Johnson in both individual donations and money spent on his behalf by political action committees.

“In her 2013 race for school board, Ratliff was outspent by over $2 million dollars,” Walker said, referring to his support that included wealthy westside donors, then Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, “big” charter school operators, the LA County Federation of Labor and SEIU Local 99, the school service workers union.

“They thought the electorate would support a 30-something unknown with no record in education who many believed was only running to use the school board seat as a political stepping-stone,” Walker said. “Voters chose Ratliff, an LAUSD teacher, who forged a campaign led by educators who pounded the pavement. The parallel between the two races is interesting.”

Previous Posts: Johnson outpacing McKenna in school board race for money; Labor groups split on support for McKenna and Johnson in runoff; UTLA votes to endorse McKenna in District 1 board race