Morning Read: Prop. 30 Losing Support

Support Plunges for Prop. 30, Gov. Jerry Brown’s Tax Initiative
Only 46% of registered voters now support Prop. 30, a drop of 9 percentage points over the last month, and 42% oppose it. LA Times

See also Ed Source

Molly Munger’s Prop. 38 Is Spoiling Jerry Brown’s Prop. 30. She’s Not Sorry.
Both proposals could fail, leaving Brown and the Legislature to grapple with huge budget cuts they’ve threatened to make to schools and other government programs. LA Weekly

L.A. Schools Chief Urges Union Cooperation on Federal Funds
The union fears the grant won’t cover all the costs of implementing the district’s proposal. LA Times

See also LA Daily News and Ama Nyamekye’s editorial in the Huffington Post

LAUSD Loses Appeal in Settlement of Teacher-Layoff Lawsuit
The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to overturn an appellate court ruling invalidating a landmark settlement that would have exempted dozens of struggling Los Angeles Unified schools from seniority-based layoffs. Daily News

Innovation at L.A. and Long Beach School Districts May Pave Way for Others
The innovative actions by eight school districts — including LAUSD and LBUSD — who have come together to form a consortium that plans to seek federal funds to be targeted toward students is encouraging. Daily News (editorial)

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Comparing Education Tax Measures

Ed Source has an excellent, 8-part infographic comparing Propositions 30 and 38, the competing ballot measures that would temporarily raise taxes to fund public education in California.

As you may recall, Proposition 38, sponsored by the well-to-do Molly Munger, would raise a bit more money than Prop 30, sponsored by Governor Jerry Brown, but wouldn’t avoid “trigger cuts” set up by Brown, which target public education.

Both measures are uncertain to win enough popular support (see: Proposition 30 support dips below 50%, survey finds). The “No on 30” campaign has received more than $32 million, much of it coming from Molly Munger’s libertarian brother, Charles Jr. And it recently got an extra infusion of cash from what the Sacramento Bee calls “a shadowy Phoenix-based group” called Americans for Responsible Leadership (see: Mystery Arizona group sends $11 million to fight unions, Gov. Jerry Brown).

Morning Read: Proposition Détente

Munger Pulls TV Ad Critical of Governor’s Prop 30
The wealthy activist behind Proposition 38 says her campaign is taking down its television ad that sought to portray Gov. Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30 as a bad choice for voters interested in protecting K-12 education. News10

New Lottery Forecast Adds Badly Needed Dollars to Schools
State lottery sales could reach close to $5 billion during the 2012-13 fiscal year, according to an updated forecast from the California Department of Education. As a result, the CDE is increasing its projection for what schools can expect to receive in lottery support in the coming year from $150 per unit of average daily attendance to $154 per ADA. SI&A Cabinet Report

Education and the 2012 Election: A Strategist’s Analysis
Tami Abdollah interviews Democratic strategist Darry Sragow about education’s role in the 2012 election. KPCC

Prop. 30’s Big Donors Include Big Companies
The lion’s share of campaign donations for Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax-raising Proposition 30 has come from public employee unions, but the effort also has the backing of many businesses, some of which do not appear to have a direct connection to the initiative. SF Gate (via Barbara Jones)
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Brown-Munger Feud Worries Ed Advocates

Yesterday we explained the unfortunate rift between ideological allies Jerry Brown and Molly Munger over Propositions 30 and 38, ballot initiatives that would increase education funding (Competing Ballot Initiatives Split Ideological Allies). Today’s news is that the conflict continues to heat up — and may only get worse between now and Election Day.

Late yesterday afternoon, the LA Times reported that the California State Superintendent of Education was calling on Munger to ease up on her criticism of Brown’s Prop. 30 (Schools chief urges Molly Munger to drop negative ads). Since then, the San Jose Mercury News has fact-checked Molly Munger’s attack ad against Prop. 30  and found it wanting (Anti-Prop. 30 ad is misleading because it implies it won’t help schools). The SF Gate has reported a  rift between Munger and her main ally, the state PTA (Trouble brewing between Munger, PTA). Last but not least, a parent advocate writing at EdSource called on Brown and Munger to get their act together lest voters become confused and neither ballot measure passes (A parent’s plea).

Brown’s Prop. 30 is polling ahead of Munger’s initiative, and if both initiatives won voter approval the one with higher approval would prevail.  But obviously Prop. 30’s backers are worried.

Competing Ballot Initiatives Split Ideological Allies

In recent weeks, Superintendent John Deasy has been warning about the dire circumstances confronting LAUSD if voters don’t approve one of the two measures to raise money for public education on the ballot in November.   However, even if Governor Jerry Brown’s Prop. 30 and Molly Munger’s Prop. 38 both pass, only the top vote-getter will become law, setting them in direct competition.

The competition between the two is getting ugly.  A few days ago, Munger appeared on NBC News to call Governor Brown’s advertisements “utterly deceptive.” She’s then released an ad bashing Prop. 30, something that Democrats have been afraid of (for more, see John Fensterwald’s post at Ed Source). Prop. 30 is slightly ahead in the polls and seems the more likely of the two to pass.

Morning Read: District Budget In Peril

Deasy: LAUSD’s Future Rests With Voters
Los Angeles Unified is making significant progress in improving its academic achievement and graduation rates, but future gains will be in peril if voters reject a statewide tax hike to fund public schools, Superintendent John Deasy said Monday. Daily News

TV News covered the speech as well, including CBSABC, and KTLA Channel 5:

Campaign Launched To Promote Arts Education In L.A. Unified
The campaign, called “Arts Matter,” consists of messages on “hundreds of billboards, bus shelters, wall postings, mall media and bulletins,” according to organizers. Those signed up to tweet encouraging messages include singer Justin Bieber and entertainer/producer Ryan Seacrest. LA Times

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Education-Related Ballot Measures: An Update

A new Los Angeles Times / USC poll shows support for Governor Jerry Brown’s Prop 30 ballot initiative – which would temporarily raise income tax on high earners – has slipped to 54%, down 10 points from March. Despite the erosion, Democratic voters still overwhelmingly favor it, 69-20%.  Meanwhile, Molly Munger’s competing tax measure, Prop 38, has the support of only 34% of voters.

This seems a good time for an update on the three initiatives that will have the biggest impact on LAUSD and public education in California: Propositions 30, 32 and 38. The expenditure data is from a nice interactive feature on the Los Angeles Times website.

Proposition 30
The initiative, being pushed by Governor Jerry Brown, would temporarily raise income taxes on those making more than $250,000 (for seven years) and increase the sales tax by a quarter of a cent (for four years). The money would allow the state to avoid automatic “trigger cuts” – which were designed by Brown himself – that would fall mostly on public education, to the tune of $6 billion. Detractors say this measure won’t result in more money for schools.

Money raised in support: $39.8 million
Money raised against: $1.1 million
Biggest donor in support: California Teachers Association, $6.1 million
Biggest donor against: Charles B. Johnson, $200,000

Brown has worked hard to raise money to support the measure, but will it be enough to get it to the finish line?

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Morning Read: A Tale of Two Headlines

• A tale of two headlines: Results of the California High School Exit Exam were released yesterday, and for LAUSD there’s good news and bad news, reflected in two headlines: The LA Times has it like this: “Two-thirds of sophomores pass exit exam, a record high for LAUSD”. Wonderful news! But the Daily News says: “LAUSD trails state for seniors passing high-school exit exam; sophomores taking test show major improvement”. Not very snappy.  Of course, both headlines are true. About 12% of seniors failed to pass the test, which is actually an improvement on last year’s figure of 14%. Superintendent John Deasy is quoted in both pieces, and is pleased with the results in both of them.  Also, KPCC has a map of how various school districts in the area did on the test.

• Student attendance grows at LAUSD: A slightly higher percentage of students within LAUSD enrolled in school compared to last year. Patch

• School closures, employee cuts, selling land debated by near bankrupt Inglewood Unified: School district staff are recommending the school board cut $14 million from their budget. The board has “taken steps to declare bankruptcy in January,” although it can avoid that if it cuts enough. KPCC

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Morning Read: Get Smart

Federal Money For Low-Income Students’ AP Tests:  California will receive $7.6 million from the federal government to pay for Advanced Placement tests for low income students. LA Times

PTA Endorses Munger, Not Brown: The California Parent Teacher Association has endorsed Proposition 38, Molly Munger’s ballot measure to raise taxes to pay for education, which it helped write. It has also decided to stay neutral on Governor Jerry Brown’s more moderate proposal, Prop 30. PTA

UTLA President Sets Record Straight: In response to an LA Times article suggesting that an agreement had been reached, Warren Fletcher reiterates that his union has not agreed to any evaluation system that includes use of students’ test scores.  UTLA

Former Columbia Ed School Dean Calls For Smarter Testing: An op-ed in the Times from Arthur Levine argues for the development of “smarter testing,” like GPS:  “Tests should gauge what students are learning in real time and continually recalculate the instruction each student needs to learn it.” LA Times

Morning Read: Summer’s Dying Embers

• John Myers tweets that Molly Munger has sunk another $5 million into her Proposition 38 campaign, which would raise taxes to boost education funding in California. She has now given a total of $13.7 million. The Democratic Party and the teachers unions are backing Jerry Brown’s more moderate proposal, Proposition 30.

• Local blogger Paul Hatfield objects to LAUSD’s new teacher evaluation system (still in its pilot program phase), which at 30 pages is ten times longer than the old one. CIty Watch

• School starts August 14! LAUSD has posted its calendars here.