Tuesday, September 16, 2014

NRW DEAL COULD MEAN MILLIONS FOR LA UNIFIED’S TV STATION + smf’s 2¢

by Craig Clough, LA School Report | http://bit.ly/1BJzFIz

KCLS Money LAUSDPosted on September 15, 2014 3:12 pm  ::  After suffering years of harsh budget cuts, LA Unified-owned public TV station KLCS could see a financial windfall next year should its recently announced plan to auction off bandwidth to the FCC go forward.

The potential value of the deal has been estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars. The money would likely go directly to the station, not the district, and could be used to fund the station in perpetuity through the creation of a foundation, according to LA Unified spokesman Thomas Waldman.

“It is possible, given some of the numbers we are hearing about, is that just the interest alone could keep the station operating,” Waldman told LA School Report.

The deal would involve KLCS and independent public TV station KCETLink sharing a single over-the-air-broadcast channel while auctioning off 6 megahertz of spectrum to the FCC in June of 2015. The deal would have no direct impact to viewers, as the stations will maintain separate channels on the dial because it is essentially a behind-the-scenes technical move.

Aside from regular PBS-affiliated children’s and adult programs, KLCS broadcasts LA Unified school board and County Board of Supervisors meetings, and provides over-80,000 hours of annual instructional/informational content and 700 hours of original content, according to its website.

The school board approved a memorandum of understanding to move forward with the agreement at its meeting on Sept. 9. The memorandum stated that a recommendation regarding disposition of revenues from the auction will be subject to school board action in the spring of 2015. In the meantime, Waldman said district officials and others involved with KLCS are excited with the news.

“It’s a very bright development,” said Waldman, who himself hosts a show on KLCS called “Rock N Roll Stories.”

After peaking at an annual budget of around $10 million in the 2006-2007 school year, the station has suffered massive cuts in recent years and is operating this school year under a budget of approximately $2.7 million, according to Waldman. He added that the funds from the FCC auction would prevent board members from having to make future cuts to the station it has owned since 1972.

“Part of this effort is to establish financial sustainability. So during budget crises— and there will probably be another one soon enough—the station does not find itself in the same situation where the board members, while having to balance all sorts of priorities, decide they really can’t do much for the station,” Waldman said.

It is reasonable to assume, given the likelihood of another budget crisis in the future, that some will argue the auction money should be deposited directly into the district’s general fund. But KLCS General Manager Sabrina Thomas said the district has been asking the station for several years to come up with ways to generate its own revenue.

“The district mandated KLCS to become self sustaining so we could get off the general fund, and we believe we’ve come up with a solution to that,” Thomas told LA School Report. “And so this money should be dedicated to sustain KLCS. That’s what they asked us to do and that’s what we have done. To undermine that would be to undermine their own mandate.”

According to Current.org, media experts say the auction could generate funds as high as $32 million, which would be split evenly between KCET and KLCS.

“We believe more importantly that we have the potential now, with this agreement with KCET, to bring in the kinds of revenue that can keep the station fully funded for years without the district and the board to have to provide that money,” Waldman said. “What we propose is that it go into a foundation and that it fund the station, in essence in perpetuity.”

Waldman said while the occasional member of the public does question why the district spends money on the station, the school board has long supported its existence even while making harsh cuts. As a result of the cuts, Thomas said the station has gone from 80 employees to 24.

“I’m hopeful for the first time in a long time, because we have been subject to budget cuts in recent years,” said Thomas, who has been the GM for about three years and worked at the station for 30. “I’m really looking forward to restoring much needed positions and departments, and building and being on par with other stations of our scope. I’m just thrilled.”

Thomas said a station the size of KLCS typically operates on a $25 million budget, and that she is hopeful should the auction go forward and produce the expected revenue, the budget could be increased to around $15 million.

KLCS operated its entire lifetime without ever holding an on-air fundraiser until 2012, Waldman said, and ran completely from district funds and occasional grants. But even with the potential new funds from the sale, the plan is for active on-air fundraising to continue.

“The more revenue you bring in, the higher quality programming you can offer the public,” Waldman said. “You offer the higher quality programming and the public is more inclined to give money to keep the station going. There’s a lot of optimism around here.”


2cents small There is absolutely no guarantee beyond good intentions that the spectrum auction revenue will be deposited in a sustaining endowment for the station and not siphoned off by the general fund. Unless this revenue goes into a “lock box’ it will be another one-time-blip-in-the-general-fund-cash-flow and the station will again be a red headed stepchild and a burden on the general fund rather than the educational asset it should be.. 

This is a rare case where the District should operate like a business … but watch: It will immediately revert to being a school district!

SOME LA UNIFIED STUDENTS WILTING IN HEAT WAITING FOR AIR CONDITIONING REPAIRS

by Adolfo Guzman-Lopez | | 89.3 KPCC http://bit.ly/1uRmKjy

Spanish teacher Karla Johnson takes the classroom temperature at Franklin High School in L.A.'s Highland Park. She says she's been complaining about faulty air conditioning for 10 years. Spanish teacher Karla Johnson takes the classroom temperature at Franklin High School in L.A.'s Highland Park. She says she's been complaining about faulty air conditioning for 10 years. courtesy of Karla Johnson

September 15, 06:42 PM  ::  L.A. Unified says it has air conditioning in all 32,000 school district classrooms, but 2,000 pending service calls have turned the current heat wave into a repair crisis.

On Monday, at Franklin High School in Highland Park, the conditions were sweltering.

"I have a temperature gun and the highest temperature inside the classroom was 92 degrees,” Spanish teacher Karla Johnson said.

That’s too hot for her students to learn.

“They are having problems concentrating, they’re falling asleep, they’re sweating. I can see sweat dripping down their face while I’m trying to teach them,” Johnson said, adding the air-conditioning problems aren’t new. She's been complaining about the situation for 10 years.

What's it going to take to lower classroom temperatures to a level where learning can go on?

"It's going to take the students to speak up," Johnson said. She's heard some students talk about a walkout on Tuesday to protest the school's broken air conditioning.

“That surprises me that any room gets to 92 degrees,” said Robert Laughton, L.A. Unified’s deputy director of maintenance and operations.

His office put Franklin High ahead of the line to get a technician on campus by Tuesday morning, he said.

The triple-digit heat wave has turned the air-conditioning repair backlog at L.A. Unified into a “crisis,” Laughton said. All of the district’s 77 air-conditioning repair technicians have been placed on mandatory overtime. Some of them will be working seven days a week to bring the classroom temperatures down to a level at which students can learn.

Laughton said he couldn't estimate how long it will take to resolve the backlog.

The best teachers and students can do is hope for a break in the heat, which may not come until Wednesday.

WE CODDLE BAD COPS, VILIFY GOOD TEACHERS

We defer to cops even when they kill, and scapegoat schools for the ills America has given up on. This must change

Paul Rosenberg | SALON |  http://bit.ly/1pijDwj

We coddle bad cops, vilify good teachers
Matt Damon as Colin Sullivan in "The Departed" (Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014 12:45 PM PST  ::  The killing of Michael Brown brought a great many things into focus — so many that it can be hard to keep track of them all. One important point was the dramatic contrast between elite treatment of police — routinely deferred to, even when they kill — and the routine scapegoating of teachers, who are demonized for all the ills that America’s elites have given up on.  Of course, this has nothing to do with police officers and teachers themselves. It has everything to do with the roles they play — or can play — in either strengthening and defending the status quo, or in empowering possibilities of change.

Darren Wilson not only typifies how dangerous bad police can be in America, but also how heavily protected they are.  Shortly after he was publicly identified, the Washington Post revealed that his first police job had been in Jennings, Missouri, a rare example of a police department shut down because it was so broken (primarily with regards to race relations) that the city council thought it was impossible to fix.  But Wilson carried no stain of that with him.

Teachers, in contrast, have grown all too familiar with mass firings in recent years, as schools are routinely closed with little or no relationship to actual teacher competency or conduct. Indeed, President Obama and his secretary of education, Arne Duncan, have been enthusiastic supporters of this trend. In Chicago, where Duncan ran the school system before his Cabinet appointment, successive rounds of “school reform” firings have reduced the percentage of black teachers from about 40 percent to just under 30 percent, according to a civil rights lawsuit filed in late 2012. In New Orleans, more than 7,000 teachers were fired without due process after Hurricane Katrina, and won a civil lawsuit providing back pay earlier this year. Yet, in 2010, Duncan said, “The best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina.” Both Duncan and President Obama strongly supported the Central Falls, Rhode Island, school board when it fired all its high school teachers without due process in February 2010. These are but the most high-profile examples of how mass-firing purportedly “bad teachers” without cause has become a routine part of “school reform.”  In light of such examples, Chicago educator Paul Horton has argued that “The Attack on Teacher Tenure Is an Attack on the Black Middle Class,” despite the fact that the corporate-driven “education reform” movement has branded itself as “the civil rights struggle of our time.”



Further revealing the pattern of police abuse surrounding Wilson’s killing of Michael Brown, it was later reported that Ferguson police have been involved in four federal lawsuits and more than a half-dozen investigations over the past decade, for a reported 13 percent rate of misconduct. What’s more, in a New York Times Op-Ed, University of California Irvine Law School dean Erwin Chemerinsky warned that even an announced Justice Department investigation would have limited impact. “ [I]f the conclusion is that the officer, Darren Wilson, acted improperly, the ability to hold him or Ferguson, Mo., accountable will be severely restricted by none other than the United States Supreme Court,” Chemerinsky wrote. “In recent years, the court has made it very difficult, and often impossible, to hold police officers and the governments that employ them accountable for civil rights violations.” The title of Chemerinsky’s Op-Ed? “How the Supreme Court Protects Bad Cops.”

Chemerinsky focused on a set of recent decisions — 2011 and later. But even before those decisions took effect, police accountability was almost nonexistent, according to an New York University law review article, “Police Indemnification,” by UCLA law professor Joanna C. Schwartz. When plaintiffs do recover money for police misconduct, it’s taxpayers, not the police, who foot the bill. In her conclusion, Schwartz wrote:

Law enforcement officers employed by the forty-four largest jurisdictions in my study were personally responsible for just .02% of the over $730 million paid to plaintiffs in police misconduct suits between 2006 and 2011. Law enforcement officers employed by the thirty-seven small and mid-sized departments in my study paid nothing towards settlements and judgments entered against them during this period. Officers did not contribute to settlements and judgments even when they were disciplined, terminated, or criminally prosecuted for their misconduct. [Emphasis added.]

This nationwide coddling of police misconduct — one might almost call it “encouragement” — stands in stark contrast to the above-indicated nonstop vilification of “bad teachers,” who never seem to kill anyone, and yet have been the subject of a sustained multi-decade bipartisan attack.

Brown himself was an educational success story, despite the odds, a high school graduate just days away from his first day in college, even though Ferguson’s school system is arguably as troubled as its police department.  As Rebecca Klein noted at Huffington Post, Brown’s high school, Normandy High, “is emblematic of a system that’s failing low-income kids.” It combines low graduation rates, high rates of violence, and soaring suspension rates; the state has labeled Normandy a “failed district” based on standardized test scores, and it’s located in a state where poor schools tend to get the least funding — one of two worst states (along with North Carolina) in terms of low scores on all four equity measures.

“Do you know how hard it was for me to get him to stay in school and graduate?” his mother told news station KMOV. “You know how many black men graduate? Not many.”

Yet, graduate he did. Michael Brown’s success seemed due to his efforts, his family’s support, and the attitudes of those who taught him. At least that’s the strong impression you get from Brown’s kindergarten teacher, Deidre Sealey, who posted a moving commentary about him on Facebook, which has been tweeted as well. “Michael was one of the kindest kids that I have taught,” she wrote. “Michael was quiet, yet funny. He had an infectious smile. Some things I remember most was how Michael’s grandfather or dad picked him up from school every day. His mom, dad, and extended family were fiercely protective of Michael and at that time, his only sister, Deja. They were active in every aspect of his education, conferences, school performance, et al….  Each of my colleagues, who had the opportunity to teach Michael, have echoed my sentiments.”  The picture Sealey paints is not just of a young man who did everything right, educationally, but of a whole extended family that did — and, implicitly, educators who valued their years of dedication.

So where is the Deidre Sealey of the Ferguson police force? If there were one, odds are very good that Michael Brown would still be alive. Yet, the officer who killed Brown had a spotless record, according to the department, while the school district was overrun with “bad teachers,” according to the logic of the system that labeled it as “failed.”

There is something very wrong with the diagnostic systems that send us such signals, and it’s not that hard to decode what they actually mean: The police are supposed to maintain social order, and they are judged accordingly by those who call the shots; they can do no wrong. Teachers, on the other hand, are an unreliable lot. They can fill kids’ heads up with all sorts of crazy ideas. Liberty, equality, democracy. Maybe even a hint of what a real civil rights movement looks like. So they’ve got to be policed, themselves!

This isn’t to imply that Ferguson’s schools are actually much better than they seem—they’re not.  But it’s not the fault of “bad teachers.” It’s the fault of multiple factors, most of the largest ones traceable back to race and class. A recently published working paper, based on nationwide data, found that a 20 percent increase in school funding, due to changes that began in the 1970s, produced dramatic results in the academic success of low-income students:

[A] 20 percent increase in per-pupil spending each year for all 12 years of public school for children from poor families leads to about 0.9 more completed years of education, 25 percent higher earnings, and a 20 percentage-point reduction in the annual incidence of adult poverty; we find no effects for children from non-poor families. The magnitudes of these effects are sufficiently large to eliminate between two-thirds and all of the gaps in these adult outcomes between those raised in poor families and those raised in non-poor families.

The problem, quite simply, is that those school funding changes have not gone far enough, and have even been reversed in some cases.  In Missouri, specifically, as noted above, the state actually increases disparities between affluent and poor districts. Add to that the nationwide reversal of desegregation gains, as documented by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, and you’ve explained the vast majority of what ails Ferguson’s school system.

As education policy expert David Berliner (co-author of “The Manufactured Crisis: Myths, Fraud, and the Attack on America’s Public Schools” and “50 Myths and Lies That Threaten America’s Public Schools: The Real Crisis in Education“) wrote in an email published at top education advocate Diane Ravitch’s blog: “[O]utside-of-school variables count for about 3 times the effect of the inside-of-school variables, and they count for about six times the effect of teachers on the aggregate scores of classes and schools.”

As Berliner notes, these figures hold both nationally and internationally. Similarly, the American Statistical Association, in a cautionary statement about the use of “Value Added Measurement” to evaluate teachers, added: “Most VAM studies find that teachers account for about 1% to 14% of the variability in test scores, and that the majority of opportunities for quality improvement are found in the system-level conditions. Ranking teachers by their VAM scores can have unintended consequences that reduce quality.” [Emphasis added.]

The strongest contrast with how well-protected even lethally bad policing is compared to teachers came three weeks after Brown was killed, when the final review was issued in Vergara vs. California, striking down California’s teacher tenure laws.  The ruling — which has already been appealed — actually strikes down five California education laws, including teacher tenure, which for K-12 teachers merely means due process protection against arbitrary firing. Bad teachers deprived them of their civil rights, the plaintiffs argued, and the judge agreed — even though there was no solid evidence that any of them actually had a “bad teacher” as Diane Ravitch explained in June. One plaintiff said she had a bad teacher, and pointed to Christine McLaughlin, a Pasadena “teacher of the year.” Other plaintiffs were in charter schools or a pilot program where the tenure protections for teachers didn’t even apply!

With “standards” like that for who qualifies as a “bad teacher,” it’s impossible to say if Michael Brown ever had one. We only know one thing for sure: He wasn’t killed by one.

What should be obvious from all the above is that cops are unfairly protected when they do something grievously wrong, and the teachers are unfairly blamed when they simply show up for work in a difficult educational environment.  But my purpose here is not a simple role switch, arguing that individual police should be presumed guilty and individual teachers presumed innocent. Instead, I’m saying three things:

1)  The most important factors for both law enforcement and education are not individual performance, but the conditions in which people work, the larger systems in which their work is embedded.

2)  We need to understand those systems as systems in order to avoid pursuing counterproductive strategies, no matter how right or “common sense” they may seem.

3)  Both law enforcement and education are ultimately embedded in the same larger social system, and a significant portion of the problems they face must be tackled on a broader scale.

Bad Individuals Are a Relatively Small Problem

Let’s turn to each of these points in turn. I’ve already alluded to data showing that individual teacher performance has a relatively small impact compared to other factors.  I’d like to provide some more detail before considering how similar arguments apply to law enforcement.

First, regarding teachers, I’d like to quote further from David Berliner’s email mentioned above.  It was written specifically about results from the 2012 international educational assessment known as the Programme for International Student Assessment, or PISA. At one point, Berliner refers to an analysis of earlier data by Doug Willms, published in 2006. He writes:

His analysis suggests that if children of average SES attended one of their own nations high performing schools, or instead attended one of their own nations’ low performing schools, the difference at age 15, the age of PISA testing, would be equivalent to about 4 grade levels. Thus a 10th grader of average SES who can attend a high performing school is likely to score at about the 12th grade level (a grade level approximation from PISA data). And if that same child were to attend a low performing school, he or she would score at about the 8th grade level. It’s the same hypothetical child we are talking about, but with two very different lives to be lead as a function of the makeup of the schools attended. It is not the quality of the teachers, the curriculum, the computers available, or any number of other variables that are often discussed when issues of school quality come up. Instead, the composition of the school seems to be the most powerful factor in changing the life course for this hypothetical, average child.

Note that this analysis applies internationally; it is not limited to the U.S.  The problem that the U.S. has, which other nations do not, is that we have such a large proportion of low-performing schools, and that they tend to be racially segregated to a high degree. This analysis does not say that you can simply pluck a child out of one environment, place them in another, and then miracles will happen. It is about the entire life course of their education.  The effects involved clearly dwarf what even the most talented teacher could hope to accomplish in a single year. Obviously, it is better to have a good teacher than a bad one, but it’s much more important to go to a high-quality school, which is why schools figure so prominently in housing decisions of parents who can afford to consider and act on them.

Turning our attention to police, we can find support for a similar conclusion — that individual performance is a relatively minor factor in overall effectiveness — by looking at a very different sort of data, which came to wide public attention in the wake of Ferguson: data about the use of body cams to record police/civilian interactions.  Most commonly cited was the example of Rialto, California, where the use of body cams reduced citizen complaints by 88 percent and use-of-force incidents by 60 percent.  This was just one of five studies examined in a report for the Department of Justice, “Police Officer Body-Worn Cameras Assessing the Evidence,” by Arizona State University criminologist Michael White. White’s report is filled with caution and nuance, particularly given how new the technology is, and how few studies have yet been done (some still ongoing), but the general pattern seems to be borne out. White noted: “Several of the empirical studies have documented substantial decreases in citizen complaints (Rialto, Mesa, Plymouth, and Renfrewshire/Aberdeen studies) as well as in use of force by police (Rialto) and assaults on officers (Aberdeen).”

This is not to claim that body cams are a magic bullet.  As Carlos Miller highlighted at Photography Is Not a Crime, results were quite different in Albuquerque.  This does not negate the point I’m making here, however. Rather, it serves to underscore another, closely related point in my argument: that systemic causes and forces predominate. When the system aligns itself with the goals of reducing use of force and citizen complaints, body cams have proven effective in helping to bring that about, without the need to replace “bad cops.” Most bad policing is a situational product, not a product of individual bad character.

Second, as I reported here in February, there is significant evidence that professional training eliminates a crucial aspect of shooter bias — the tendency to shoot unarmed black suspects more readily than white ones: “A test of trained police officers – one group from the Denver Police Department, the second a national sample – found that although the reaction-time bias remained, the far more critical error-rate bias was eliminated among trained police.”

These were results using a simulation game, but they’re the best evidence we have, and they clearly indicate that one of the most troubling — and subconscious — sources of perceived police misconduct can be virtually eliminated with no change at all in personnel.

Despite what I’ve just said, both police and teachers can perform poorly, of course, and this is an important concern, even if it’s not the most important factor.  However, the most effective way to deal with poor performance, in general, is first through supportive corrective measures, which means making changes to the systems that cops and teachers are a part of. An excessive reliance on punitive measures, including termination, reflect a failure of the systems as much or more than a failure of the individuals involved. Very few people go to work in any field wanting to do a bad job.  Even fewer do so when offered the means to do better. By all means, we should get rid of the ones who do, but we need to credibly assure the vast majority of good employees that they will not be unfairly targeted.

Undertanding Police and Education Problems As Systemic Problems

Shifting focus from individual teachers and cops to the systems they work in can sometimes lead to surprising results. Other times, it simply reaffirms common sense. The value and effectiveness of community-based policing in improving police-community relations is an example of the latter. On the other hand, an example of a surprising result comes in the area of arguments about “bad teachers” and teacher tenure.  That result, quite simply,  is that focusing intently on trying to get rid of bad teachers misses much more important factors, and may only make the problem worse.

It’s one of the best-known facts in the education community that teacher turnover is a major problem. The “bad teacher”/“bad teacher tenure” narrative tries to heap enormous blame onto a small minority of bad teachers — which, when you think about it, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  How can a tiny minority of teachers — 1-3 percent was the figure cited in the Vergara case — bring an entire system to its knees, without being so outrageously bad that it’s easy to fire them for cause?  It makes sense as a fairy tale, of course. There has to be a super-evil villain, but of course nobody’s anti-teacher!  So it’s only a very, very small number of them, right?  But we have to take all their rights away, just to be on the safe side!

Meanwhile, in the real world, virtually everyone in the education field knows that the real problem is the difficulty of hanging on to promising new teachers.  Richard Ingersoll is perhaps the nation’s leading expert on the subject of why schoolteachers leave.  He is also an example. He taught high-school social studies and algebra for six years, before quitting and getting his Ph.D. in sociology. In 2012, Ingersoll wrote:

Teacher attrition—teachers leaving teaching—is especially high in the first years on the job. Several studies, including our own analyses (Ingersoll, 2003; Ingersoll & Perda, in press), have estimated that between 40% and 50% of new teachers leave within the first five years of entry into teaching. Moreover, we have found that the attrition rates of first-year teachers have increased by about one-third in the past two decades. So, not only are there far more beginners in the teaching force, but these beginners are less likely to stay in teaching.

So, contrary to the notion that America’s big education problem is a tiny minority of bad teachers who hang around forever and just won’t quit, the real problem is almost the exact opposite: a near majority of new teachers who won’t stay. The subject of Ingersoll’s article was  “employee entry, orientation, and support programs—widely known as induction,” which the data suggest can be highly effective in reducing turnover rates, if they are sufficiently robust. Ingersoll found that “The factors with the strongest effect were having a mentor teacher from one’s subject area and having common planning or collaboration time with other teachers in one’s subject area.” There’s a good prima facie reason to think that such support programs are also an effective way to deal with the “bad teacher” problem before it ever comes to that.

One study, “The Cost of Teacher Turnover in Five School Districts,” found that “turnover costs, although difficult to quantify, are significant at both the district and the school level. We also find that teachers left high-minority and low-performing schools at significantly higher rates,” thus confirming the point that this is the actual teacher problem specifically impacting students in low-quality schools, even more so than the nation as a whole.

One of the key recommendations of the study was:

2. Target comprehensive retention strategies to at-risk schools

Teachers leave at-risk (low-income, high-minority, low-performing) schools at high rates.

Retention initiatives in these schools have the greatest potential for a high return on investment, both in terms of resources and school performance.

But that’s just one piece of the puzzle.  The second piece is how the obsessive focus on firing “bad teachers” actually makes the existing real challenges even worse, as indicated by the following from a story about the state-level trend to repeal teacher tenure:

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers union, said taking away due process rights ultimately hurts low-income schools because teachers won’t want to take a risk to teach in such schools without strong labor protections.

Due process allows good teachers to “take risks on behalf of their kids,” Weingarten said.

As just noted, these are already the most difficult schools to retain new teachers in. The more rapid turnover is, the less experienced teachers these schools will have. Given that these schools have lower test scores for reasons having nothing to do with teacher quality, why would any new teacher with long-term aspirations want to teach in such schools, if they could be fired for no other reason than that they failed to produce a sufficient number of miracles?

The Larger System Where Police and Education Problems Come From

Finally, if we want to understand how both systems — education and criminal justice — fit together into a larger whole, we need to look at society as a whole. To make things more manageable, taking Ferguson as an example, we need to consider the history and political geography of the St. Louis region over a period of decades, and how this impacts people’s everyday lives. This story has been masterfully woven together by Radley Balko (“Rise of the Warrior Cop“) in the Washington Post, “How municipalities in St. Louis County, Mo., profit from poverty.”

Balko combines street-level reporting and interviews with key local actors in a cultural/historical/geographic framework derived from the work of Colin Gordon, author of “Mapping Decline: St. Louis and the Fate of the American City,” which is supplemented by a website of historically progressive maps and related documents. Balko also interviews Gordon, and the local actors he interviews include members of Arch City Defenders, whose recently released white paper on St. Louis County municipal courts provides a detailed account of how the deeply dysfunctional system operates today.

Gordon’s publisher, University of Pennsylvania Press, describes his book as follows:

“Mapping Decline” examines the causes and consequences of St. Louis’s urban crisis. It traces the complicity of private real estate restrictions, local planning and zoning, and federal housing policies in the “white flight” of people and wealth from the central city. And it traces the inadequacy—and often sheer folly—of a generation of urban renewal, in which even programs and resources aimed at eradicating blight in the city ended up encouraging flight to the suburbs. The urban crisis, as this study of St. Louis makes clear, is not just a consequence of economic and demographic change; it is also the most profound political failure of our recent history.

As Balko describes the accompanying online maps: “Gordon illustrates how white people didn’t just flee St. Louis, they used whatever tools were at their disposal to prevent black people from joining them, including race-restrictive deeds and covenants until they were struck down in 1947, segregation until it was struck down in 1954, real estate pacts, and finally zoning laws.”

As the most blatant forms of discrimination were struck down, blacks first began settling in St. Louis County in significant numbers, and a new dynamic emerged, Balko explained:

[W]hites engaged in what you might call a pattern of zone and retreat. It’s during these two waves of black immigration that you really begin to see the proliferation of municipalities in St. Louis County.

“Until only relatively recently, the state of Missouri had almost no rules for municipal incorporation,” Gordon says. “In just about every other state, when a new subdivision would spring up in an unincorporated area, the state would say, ‘If you want public services, you need to be annexed by the nearest town.’ In Missouri, you didn’t have that.”

Instead, developers would create new subdivisions outside a city. White people would move in. As black families moved north and west of the city, these subdivisions would try to keep them out by zoning themselves as single-family housing only. That barred the construction of public and low-income housing…

As black families moved out from the city and slowly infiltrated white towns, new white developments would spring up further out still, incorporate, and zone to keep the black population at bay. Blacks would move in to those towns too, and the process would repeat itself.

This is the historical origins of the pattern of exploitative policing that Arch City Defenders uncovered in their report.  Driven by racism, the development pattern for the entire suburban county was even more lacking in organic, socioeconomic cohesiveness than suburbs typically are. The lack of an economic resource base has both undermined the quality of schools, and turned local law enforcement agencies and court systems into revenue-generating bounty-style operations, particularly in the poorer, blacker communities.  This is the specific, concrete manner in which underlying housing discrimination, spanning generations, has created a broader framework of racial and class inequities, in which both police systems and educational systems exist.

Rather than focusing on Ferguson, let’s consider an example on the other extreme, which Balko writes about. For reasons Balko explains, the town of Berkeley has high black political participation, a black mayor, black city manager, an all-black city council and a majority-black police department.  But it’s still constrained by its history and limited economic options. Balko explains:

If any town could overcome the legacy of structural racism that drew the map of St. Louis County, then, it would be Berkeley. And yet this town of 9,000 people still issued 10,452 traffic citations last year, and another 1,271 non-traffic ordinance violations. The town’s municipal court raised over $1 million in fines and fees, or about $111 per resident. The town issued 5,504 arrest warrants last year, and has another 13,436 arrest warrants outstanding. Those are modest numbers for St. Louis County, but they’re high for just about anywhere else.

“We’ve tried to rely on revenue from our municipal court as little as possible,” says Berkeley Mayor Theodore Hoskins. “We emphasize that traffic laws and ordinances are about public safety, not about revenue.” But there’s a cost to that. The town ran a $1.3 million deficit last year, and recently considered dissolving its police department to save money. 

One can only conclude that if one could solve all the problems Ferguson faces that have garnered the most attention in the last month, then Ferguson would look a lot like Berkeley — and it would still be a community living on the edge of disaster.  Getting rid of bad cops or defending them would make little or no difference at all, in the larger scheme of things. As for bad teachers?  You’ve got to be kidding!

The underlying problem is a fundamental lack of resources, which turns poor communities into self-cannibalizing entities. Both national and international statistics are clear: The two most important factors in predicting academic success are the wealth of one’s parents and the wealth of one’s community. The demonization of teachers does nothing to address this. It merely develops a preferred cuisine for the self-cannibalization menu.

Even focusing too much on a single incident of the police killing an innocent black teen risks missing the forest for the trees. Which is why it’s so important to heed the examples of groups like the Dream Defenders, who approach individual outrages like the killing of Michael Brown in terms of a whole array of interlocking issues, as when they speak out against the school-to-prison pipeline. Or the rapidly-spreading Moral Mondays movement, which approaches a whole broad multi-issue spectrum of concerns from a unifying moral perspective. These — not Wall Street-funded charter school operators — are the true living inheritors of the mantle of the civil rights movement. And if the past is any guide for us, they have only just begun.

  • Paul Rosenberg is a California-based writer/activist, senior editor for Random Lengths News, and a columnist for Al Jazeera English.

EMAIL RETENTION ESSENTIAL FOR L.A. SCHOOL DISTRICT

Op-Ed By Sen. Gloria Romero, Ret. | Los Angeles/Orange County Register | http://bit.ly/1m8m3Da

16 Sept 2014  ::  Things seem to just keep disappearing in California’s largest school district, Los Angeles Unified.

First there was the revelation that iPads purchased for students were “missing,” uncovering the bungled rollout plan. That was followed with news that the Parent Trigger Law, which I wrote while in the state Legislature, was now “missing” from the litany of California laws school districts need to follow. That “missing law” story is still unfolding, discovered surreptitiously when an LAUSD lawyer mentioned to me they had simply declared themselves “exempt” from the law and then had kept the news quiet for at least nine months.

In the third week of the new school year, an estimated 45,000 students were found “missing” from class rosters, presumably due to flaws in the district enrollment data management system. This debacle forced the district to cancel its annual “Recovery Day” effort designed to curb dropouts.

For awhile, observers began to wonder if disgraced IRS chief Lois Lerner had assumed ghost leadership of the district, given her seeming propensity to magically erase key IRS emails.

With all these “things gone missing” you’d think LAUSD would now be particularly cautious. Alas, such is not the case: just last week board members approved a contract for an email management system that will permanently – and expeditiously – destroy district emails after only 365 days. The move was presented to the board by legal counsel – the same counsel that arbitrarily chose to exempt itself from the California Parent Trigger law – as a “cost-cutting” maneuver.

That’s not a convincing argument, and it’s exacerbated by the ill timing of the email destruction action: LAUSD is in the midst of an investigation into whether illegal conversations occurred between the district and contract vendors Apple and Pearson about the iPad contract and the awarding of a lucrative billion-dollar contract to those companies.

While LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy denies any wrongdoing, the matter only surfaced due to the discovery of emails between Deasy and other administrators and officials at the companies prior to the awarding of the contract.

LAUSD is still reeling from the revelations and potential repercussions from the discovery of these emails – some of these dating back well over a year. Not surprisingly, there was a public outcry once the emails were revealed. The $1 billion contract has since been canceled, with orders to start anew in the design and letting of a fair, competitive bidding process.

We don’t yet know if anything illegal occurred; an investigation is ongoing and Deasy has even filed a public records request himself seeking emails and other documents involving his own school board members via his own lawyer.

But the public might have never learned of this questionable affair and possible corruption in the dysfunctional LAUSD family if it had an email destruction policy similar to what is now being proposed. The public would have been summarily denied access to key communications.

What should be obvious to all is that the boneheaded 6-0 (one abstention) adoption of the email deletion policy should immediately be rescinded. Not only did that vote raise suspicions given its timing in the midst of the iPad email scandal, but it also runs afoul of sunshine in government laws in California requiring preservation of public documents for at least three years.

And certainly, in a district known for questionable spending, there are numerous ways it can seek to implement “cost-cutting” mechanisms. Destroying public records in the midst of an ongoing scandal is not one.

  • Staff opinion columnist Gloria Romero is an education reformer and former Democratic state senator from L.A.

2cents small I have disagreed with former Senator Romero over the years about lotsa things. She is right here about almost everything …except the Parent Trigger thing.

Letters to the editor: SUPT. DEASY IS A DISTRACTION FOR LAUSD

Readers React: Letters to the editor and readers' opinions. | LA Times http://lat.ms/1o0jDlo

16 Sept 2014

Submit a Letter to the Editor

To the editor: Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. John Deasy got it right. At this point, the iPad scandal is not an internal LAUSD problem, it's a political issue. It became so from the instant that the public found out about emails that suggest a conflict of interest. ("Strained ties cloud future of Deasy, LAUSD," Sept. 12)

Not only are parents and teachers concerned about Deasy's relationship with Apple and Pearson—with whom Deasy and a deputy began discussing a contract two years before bidding on the project began — but also members of the community like myself who volunteer and work hard to support the education of our children.

At this point, Deasy is an unnecessary distraction that is hindering the LAUSD. The honorable option is for him to resign. Otherwise, the Board of Education should decisively intervene and terminate his contract.

Nestor Fantini, Northridge

..

To the editor: Deasy says he thinks about whether he should step down "all the time."

Oddly enough, and mainly due to his autocratic and aggressive leadership style, most of the teachers under him likewise think about his stepping down all the time.

David Russell, Los Angeles

..

To the editor: The Times is way too credulous of the LAUSD's rationale for deleting emails after a year. Brushing aside the question of hiding "district shenanigans" in a single sentence, the editorial instead takes up and then shoots down the district's own argument that the emails' storage cost is prohibitive. ("L.A. Unified should rescind plan to delete year-old emails," Editorial, Sept. 11)

But since that annual cost comes out to a small fraction of what the district paid for the 75,000 iPads it has acquired, I have to ask: Is The Times serious?

Tim Gould, Carson

BICKERING BETWEEN L.A. UNIFIED LEADERS WON’T MAKE SCHOOLS BETTER

Editorial By The Times Editorial Board | LA Times  | http://lat.ms/XvBERz

John Deasy

Superintendent John Deasy before the start of a public hearing at the headquarters of the Los Angeles Unified School District. (Reed Saxon / AP)

16 Sept 2014  ::  This would be a difficult period for Supt. John Deasy and the Los Angeles Unified School District even if he and the school board were intent on working together for the benefit of students. But these aren't the most cooperative of times, to put it mildly. The questions surrounding the superintendent's 2012 emails with Apple and Pearson, well before the companies were picked as the winners of the contract to provide thousands of iPads for the district's students, have further damaged the already tenuous relations between Deasy and the board. Nothing is likely to get better until the matter is resolved by further investigation.

 

RELATED: LAUSD needs Deasy 

<<RELATED: LAUSD needs Deasy by The Times editorial board [Oct 2013 - http://lat.ms/Zo20Gt]
●●smf: In resurrecting this editorial from a year ago  - the last time Deasy threatened to quit – before The iPad ship Hit the email sand - is this the Editorial Board showing how it really feels?

After a period of relative peace between reform-oriented and union-allied political forces, things are now back to where they were last October. Board members are questioning Deasy about every step. Deasy is responding in an increasingly hostile way and talking once again about quitting. In a sign of the frayed relationship, he even made a formal request to obtain any emails between the board members — his bosses — and the two technology companies. It is unclear exactly what he is looking for, but it was a characteristically bold move for Deasy and illustrated his tendency to become pugilistic under pressure.

Meanwhile, the board seems unable to find its proper role, though in all fairness, previous boards didn't do much better. The job of the school board is to set far-reaching policy for the district, and its chief executive, the superintendent, is supposed to carry out that policy. The board absolutely should be asking piercing questions and providing strong guidance about big issues affecting large numbers of students and schools — such as the iPads, the annual budget or the inevitable difficulties involved in the sharing of campuses by district and charter schools. But it shouldn't niggle small items involving individual schools or deliberately advance a petty agenda against reasonable reforms.

Instead it has been doing both. Last week's board meeting was a prime example. A worthwhile proposal by two board members who often differ in educational philosophy, Tamar Galatzan and Monica Ratliff, was popular with all the board members. It would require charter schools to inform parents when a school is in danger of closing. But before it could pass, Bennett Kayser, the member most closely allied with the teachers union and thus the most hostile to charter schools, introduced what he called a “friendly” amendment. Hardly. It would impose a raft of small-minded requirements on charter schools, down to informing parents of the salaries of the janitors and the calorie content of the food served on campus. Kayser succeeded in having this meddlesome proposal added to the resolution, which will be considered at a future meeting. It's true that L.A. Unified posts calories on its website, but one of the points of creating charter schools was to free them from bureaucratic red tape, allowing them to concentrate on improving academic performance.

L.A. Unified's charter schools have, by and large, delivered on that. A Stanford University study published in March found that L.A.'s charters were routinely outperforming traditional public schools by big margins. The difference between the two types of schools, according to the Center for Research on Education Outcomes, was tantamount to “50 more days of learning in reading and an additional 79 days of learning in math.”

Things got worse when the board considered five small contracts — of about $40,000 to $50,000 each — for individual schools. The contracts were for such things as hiring outside help to get students ready for their college applications, and providing additional help for beginning readers. At that point, Ratliff said she wanted the district to create a list of vetted contractors for principals to choose from. And when Deasy asked how that squared with the district's commitment to giving individual schools more autonomy, she responded that she had rethought her commitment to autonomy, at least when it came to these particular contracts.

That led to a testy exchange between Ratliff and a visibly irritated Deasy, who interrupted her several times. Neither was fully in the right. Deasy tried to portray Ratliff's objections as an effort to keep students from being prepared for college or learning to read. That kind of attack was unfair. But Ratliff was out of line by suddenly calling for a change in well-established district policy.

The idea behind school autonomy was to give L.A. Unified schools more of the freedom that charter schools enjoy and, as with charter schools, to hold them responsible for their decisions by demanding improved academic outcomes. And whipsawing the district on this or almost any policy is one of the most disruptive things a board member could do. The autonomy rules should be given a few years to prove themselves and then be evaluated, rather than being subjected to potshots here and there from individual board members.

Compromise was within easy reach, yet neither side seemed interested in pursuing it. It's a helpful idea to create a list of approved vendors, with Yelp-type ratings from principals who have used their services. But the district shouldn't tie the hands of principals who find other vendors they like better. And the board, which barely peeped about the initial plan to spend $500 million on iPads for more than 600,000 students, is now wasting time debating $40,000 contracts for individual schools.

Yes, there are legitimate concerns about the Deasy emails, and that investigation should move forward. But in the meantime, the district has a job to do. It can't quibble its way to better education. And Deasy, even though he clearly feels under attack, can't threaten resignation every year. There's always hope that L.A. Unified leaders will set their political agendas aside in the cause of educational improvement, but it's a hope that is seldom realized.

Monday, September 15, 2014

More Info on Medi-Cal for Kids with Autism: MEDI-CAL TO NOW PAY FOR BEHAVIORAL HEALTH TREATMENT FOR AUTISM

Rec'd by email from Judy Mark, Chair of the Government Relations Committee for Autism Society Los Angeles.  Ok to share.

Begin forwarded

Date: September 12, 2014 1:41:52 PM PDT
Subject:
Medi-Cal to Now Pay for Behavioral Health Treatment for Autism

Hi everyone,

Starting Monday, September 15, Medi-Cal will be required to pay for behavioral therapy for individuals aged 0-21.  Please share the attached information provided by Autism Deserves Equal Coverage with your networks to ensure that families understand their rights under this new opportunity. 

This a new excellent opportunity for many children but it also has some potential significant problems.  I'll give you the good news and potential problems for each type of child:

  1. Children who have a diagnosis on the autism spectrum but who are not eligible for regional center services: Good news - If the child is on Medi-Cal, they can call their Managed Care Plan starting on Monday and ask for a list of providers.  Potential Problems - It's going to take a while for the Managed Care Plans to get this up and running and there might be a small amount of provider options.  We are hoping this is not the case.
  2. Children who are clients of a regional center BUT the regional centers don't give them needed behavior therapy (and don't get me started on that): Good news: If the child is on Medi-Cal, call your plan.   (If your child isn't on Medi-Cal, you should apply!  Children with autism are eligible for Medi-Cal based on their disability, not on their parents' income. Getting your child on Medi-Cal will not only will help your family but it will bring needed dollars into our state from the federal government.  Talk to your regional center and they will help you apply.) Potential problems - See #1
  3. Children who are clients of a regional center and are lucky enough to live in an area with a good regional center that actually provides them necessary behavioral therapy and who is on Medi-Cal (OK, I started):  Good news - You are entitled to stay with your provider and with regional center providing the funding for at least the short term.  Potential problems - At this point, there is only a guarantee of "continuity of care for up to 12 months."  We are pushing for much longer, but we don't know yet.  This means that if your provider does not agree to accept Medi-Cal, you may be required to change behavioral agencies at some.  We are advocating strongly against this but we don't know what will happen.
  4. Children who receive behavioral therapy paid for by their private insurance AND the child is also on Medi-Cal: Good news: Medi-Cal will pay for the co-pays.  Potential problems - You need to call the Managed Care Plan to take care of this and they may not be ready yet.
  5. Children who have self-funded insurance that doesn't cover behavioral health treatments and currently receive behavior funding from their regional centers: Good news - You will be able to stay with regional center funding for the time being.  Potential problems - If your child also has Medi-Cal, your regional center will require you to shift funding to them if your child is eligible based on their disability.  If you don't have Medi-Cal, your regional center may also insist that you apply for Medi-Cal.
  6. Children who are undocumented and are, therefore, not eligible for Medi-Cal: Good news: Regional centers will continue funding your behavior therapy.  Potential problems - You don't have health insurance (sorry, that is another advocacy effort).

Kristin Jacobson, a great advocate from Autism Deserves Equal Coverage in Northern California, is available as a resource if you have questions.  Her information is in the attached Q&A.  If you have any questions or problems, please feel free to contact Kristin who is collecting examples to use in her advocacy.

I know this is complicated but it will affect thousands of children with autism in California.

Take care,

Judy

image

LACOE ISSUES EXTREME HEAT WARNING THROUGH WEDNESDAY, LAUSD CANCELS ALL OUTDOOR SPORTS+ATHLETIC ACTIVITY THROUGH TUESDAY

Heat Alert

Jordan High School

Athletes run the track at Jordan High School in Los Angeles in 2011. The Los Angeles Unified School District canceled all outdoor sporting events and activities Monday because of abnormally hot weather. (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

LAUSD cancels outside sporting events because of heat

  • LAUSD cancels all outside sporting events and activities for Monday and Tuesday
  • Tennis and water polo events scheduled for Monday were canceled
  • Apparently Charter Schools claim Waiver from Heat Alert

By Eric Sondheimer , LA Times prep sportswriter | http://lat.ms/1wn64l8

15 September 2014  ::  Triple-digit temperatures caused the Los Angeles Unified School District to cancel all outside sporting events and activities for Monday and Tuesday, according to a district spokesman.

Football teams weren't allowed to practice outside Monday unless they received special permission from their local school operations administrator to change the practice time to the evening hours.

Tennis and water polo events scheduled for Monday were canceled. There are no sporting events scheduled for Tuesday because it's a district-wide professional development day. The decision to cancel activities didn't go over well at least at one school.

Rick Prizant, the athletic director at Lake Balboa Birmingham, called the decision "ridiculous" not to allow a water polo match against Taft.

"We have shade for people outside," he said of the pool area. "Water polo isn't football. It's 78 degrees in the water and probably better than being outside."

Birmingham, a charter school, would have gone forward with the water polo match, Prizant said, but Taft couldn't participate because it's part of LAUSD.

Trent Cornelius, a district administrator for athletics, said the lack of cover on the pool deck area for schools was the reason water polo events also were canceled.


LACOE EXTENDS HEAT ALERT TO SEPT 17th

By email from the LACOE Office of Communications

Sept 15, 2014  ::  To help keep you informed on school safety and emergency issues, the LACOE Communications Department is forwarding you this advisory/notice sent out to the 80 district superintendents of L.A. County by Supt. Arturo Delgado on Monday, Sept. 15, 2014.

If you have any questions about this or any other advisory/notice, please contact us at: LACOE Communications or (562) 922-6360.

_______________________________________________________

The Heat Alert issued on Sept. 12 has been extended until

Wednesday, Sept. 17 for the following areas:

The Los Angeles Basin

San Fernando Valley

San Gabriel Valley

East San Gabriel Valley, including Pomona

Santa Clarita Valley


The original Heat Alert is below. 


_____________________________________________

HEAT ALERT:

High temperatures forecast for the Los Angeles Basin and East San Gabriel, San Fernando, and Santa Clarita Valleys

LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles County Health Officer has declared a Heat Alert as high temperatures have been forecast for the following areas:

East San Gabriel Valley

Friday, September 12 through Monday, September 15

Los Angeles Basin and San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys

Sunday, September 14 through Monday, September 15

The Department of Public Health would like to remind everyone that precautions should be taken, especially by individuals who participate in outdoor activities, older adults, caretakers of infants and children, and those sensitive to the heat. This alert may be extended if weather conditions do not improve.

"When temperatures are high, even a few hours of exertion may cause severe dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Others who are frail or have chronic health conditions may develop serious health problems leading to death if they are exposed to high temperatures over several days," said Jeffery Gunzenhauser, MD, MPH, Interim Health Officer, Los Angeles County. "Thus, it is critically important to never leave children, elderly people, or pets unattended in homes with no air conditioning and particularly in vehicles, even if the windows are 'cracked' or open, as temperatures inside can quickly rise to life-threatening levels. If you have an elderly or infirm neighbor without air conditioning, make sure that they get to a cooling center or other air conditioned space between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m."

For a list of Cooling Centers and information on heat-related illnesses and prevention, please visit the Public Health website, or call the LA County Information line at 2-1-1 from any landline or cell phone within the county. The posted Cooling Center list is effective through Monday, September 15. Call your local Cooling Center for hours. To view a map of the nearest cooling centers, click here.

"While it is very important that everyone take special care of themselves, it is equally important that we reach out to those who are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of extreme heat, including children, the elderly, and their pets, said Dr. Gunzenhauser. "Extreme heat such as this is not just an inconvenience, it can be dangerous and even deadly, but we can protect ourselves, our families and our neighbors if we take steps to remain cool and hydrated."

Schools, day camps, and non-school related sports organizations or athletes should take extra precautions during extreme heat. Practices and other outdoor activities should be scheduled for very early or very late in the day in order to limit the amount of time spent in the sun and heat.


Additional tips for those who must work or exercise outdoors:

  • Ensure that cool drinking water is available.
  • Drink water or electrolyte-replacing sports drinks often; do not wait until you are thirsty.
  • Avoid drinking sweetened drinks, caffeine, and alcohol.
  • Avoid drinking extremely cold water as this is more likely to cause cramps.
  • Allow athletes or outdoor workers to take frequent rests.
  • Pay attention to signs of dehydration which include dizziness, fatigue, faintness, headaches, muscle cramps, and increased thirst. Individuals with these symptoms should be moved to a cooler, shaded place, and given water or sport drinks. More severe signs of heat-related illness may include diminished judgment, disorientation, pale and clammy skin, a rapid and weak pulse, and/or fast and shallow breathing.
  • Coaches, teachers, and employers should seek immediate medical attention for those exhibiting signs of heat-related illness.
  • Avoid unnecessary exertion, such as vigorous exercise during peak sun hours, if you are outside or in a non-air conditioned building.

Older adults and individuals with chronic medical conditions:

  • During peak heat hours stay in an air-conditioned area. If you do not have access to air conditioning in your home, visit public facilities such as cooling centers, shopping malls, parks, and libraries to stay cool.
  • Do not rely only on open windows or a fan as a primary way to stay cool. Use the air conditioner. If you're on reduced income, find out more about the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, by calling (866) 675-6623 or contacting your utility provider.
  • Older adults and those on certain medications may not exhibit signs of dehydration until several hours after dehydration sets in. Stay hydrated by frequently drinking cool water. If you're on a special diet that limits liquids, check with your doctor for information on the amount of water to consume.
  • Stay out of the sun if you do not need to be in it. When in the sun, wear a hat, preferably with a wide brim, and loose-fitting, light-colored clothing with long sleeves and pants to protect against sun damage. And remember to use sun screen and to wear sunglasses.

Infants and Children:

  • It is illegal to leave an infant or child unattended in a vehicle (California Vehicle Code Section 15620).
  • Infants and young children can get dehydrated very quickly. Make sure they are given plenty of cool water to drink.
  • Keep children indoors or shaded as much as possible.
  • Dress children in loose, lightweight, and light colored clothing.

Pets:

  • Never leave a pet unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows 'cracked' or open.
  • Outdoor animals should be given plenty of shade and clean drinking water.
  • Do not leave pets outside in the sun.
  • Pets should not be left in a garage as garages can get very hot due to lack of ventilation and insulation.

Heat-Related Illnesses

Heat Cramps:

  • Symptoms include muscular pains and spasms, usually in the stomach, arms or leg muscles.
  • Heat cramps usually result from heavy exertion, such as exercise, during extreme heat.
  • Although heat cramps are the least severe of all heat-related problems, they are usually the first signal that the body is having trouble coping with hot temperatures. Heat cramps should be treated immediately with rest, fluids and getting out of the heat.
  • Seek medical attention if pain is severe or nausea occurs.

Heat Exhaustion:

  • Symptoms include heavy sweating, pale and clammy moist skin, extreme weakness or fatigue, muscle cramps, headache, dizziness or confusion, nausea or vomiting, fast and shallow breathing, or fainting.
  • First Aid: Heat exhaustion should be treated immediately with rest in a cool area, sipping water or a sports drink, applying cool and wet cloths and elevating the feet 12 inches.
  • If left untreated, victims may go into heat stroke.
  • Seek medical attention if the person does not respond to the above, basic treatment. 

Heat Stroke:

  • Symptoms include flushed, hot, moist skin or a lack of sweat, high body temperature (above 103ºF), confusion or dizziness, possible unconsciousness, throbbing headache, rapid, or strong pulse.
  • Heat stroke is the most severe heat-related illness and occurs when a person's temperature control system, which produces sweat, stops working.
  • Heat stroke may lead to brain damage and death.
  • First Aid: Call 911. Move victim to a cool shaded area. Fan the body, and spray body with water.

Los Angeles County residents and business owners, including people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs may also call 211 LA County for emergency preparedness information and other referral services. The toll-free 2-1-1 number is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week.  211 LA County services can also be accessed here.

The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Public Health comprises nearly 4,000 employees and has an annual budget exceeding $900 million. To learn more about Public Health and the work we do please visit http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov, visit our YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/lapublichealth, find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/lapublichealth, or follow us on Twitter: @LAPublicHealth.

# # #

Webinar on College-and-Career-Ready Standards, Wednesday, September 17 at 2pm EDT/11am PDT

U.S. Department of Education sent this bulletin at 09/15/2014 04:10 PM EDT | by email

 

The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics is pleased to invite you to participate in:

A WEBINAR on College- and Career-Ready Standards


Wednesday, September 17th, at 2:00-3:10pm EDT  / 11am – 12:10pm PDT

This is part of a monthly webinar series, designed to share information and foster peer networking around key education topics of interest to the Hispanic community. The webinars:

* Present information about federal investments or initiatives on key topics

* Highlight examples of Bright Spots, programs or models that address these key topics in the Hispanic community

* Initiate a dialogue among Hispanic community leaders to share promising practices, provide peer advice, and explore collaboration on the key topics

This month’s webinar will focus on college- and career-ready standards. Education systems only are as strong as the expectations they hold for their students. But for too long, our nation's schools have not set consistently rigorous goals for students. There is growing consensus that America's students need to be prepared to compete in a world that demands more than just basic skills. Over the past several years, states have taken the lead in developing and adopting rigorous standards in English language arts and mathematics that build toward college and career readiness by the time students graduate from high school. The webinar will include a presentation from Terra Wallin, Management and Program Analyst, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education, describing the Department’s agenda on college- and career-ready standards, and how states have worked on this issue. In the second half of the webinar, Gabriela Uro, Manager for English Language Learner Policy and Research at the Council of the Great City Schools, will share information about valuable resources and tools developed by the Council to support implementation of the new standards with Latino students and English language learners (ELLs) in mind.

Guest speakers:

* Terra Wallin, Management and Program Analyst, Office of Elementary and Secondard (sic) Education, U.S. Department of Education

* Gabriela Uro, English Language Learner Policy and Research Manager, Council of the Great City Schools

Webinar on College- and Career-Ready Standards

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014, at 2:00-3:10 pm EDT    11am – 12:10pm PDT

This webinar is off the record and not for press purposes.

The webinar will be conducted via WebEX and telephone. To join online via WebEX:

-------------------------------------------------------

1. Go to Webinar on College- and Career-Ready Standards

2. Enter your name and email address.

3. Enter the session password: welcome

4. Click "Join Now".

5. Follow the instructions that appear on your screen. 
WebEX technical support -- 866-449-0701, option #3

-------------------------------------------------------

To join the audio portion:

Call-in number: 800-593-9979

Passcode: 6317185

In order to hear the audio during the webinar, you must dial-in the conference number on your phone.

You must RSVP in order to receive the presentation materials that will be reviewed during the call. You can RSVP at this link.

You can find additional information on our webinar series, including summaries and audio from previously held webinars on our website.

Please feel free to share this invitation with your networks. We hope that you join us on Wednesday, September 17!

- The WHIEEH Team

CALIFORNIA BROADENS AUTISM COVERAGE FOR KIDS THROUGH MEDICAID

By Daniella Hernandez, Kaiser Health News | Inland Daily Bulletin | http://bit.ly/1phmOUZ

Nine-year-old Shirley Cruz suffers from a mild case of autism. Her condition makes it hard for her to use utensils. Her mother, Maria Cruz, has to monitor her while she eats. Heidi de Marco / KHN

Shirley Cruz, 9, was diagnosed with autism as a toddler and needs help from her mother, Maria Cruz, 45, with simple things like washing her hands. Heidi de Marco / KHN

Posted: 09/14/14, 4:17 PM PDT | Maria Cruz had never heard the word autism until her daughter, Shirley, was diagnosed as a toddler.

“I felt a knot in my brain. I didn’t know where to turn,” recalled Cruz, a Mexican immigrant who speaks only Spanish. “I didn’t have any idea how to help her.”

No one in her low-income South Los Angeles neighborhood seemed to know anything about autism spectrum disorder, a developmental condition that can impair language, learning and social interaction. Years passed as Shirley struggled through school, where she was bullied and beaten up. Now 9, Shirley aces math tests but can barely dress herself, brush her teeth or eat with utensils.

Shirley is like many autistic children from poor families: She hasn’t gotten much outside help. The parents often lack the know-how and means of middle-class families to advocate for their children at schools and state regional centers for the developmentally disabled.

A new initiative seeks to help level the playing field. Starting Monday, thousands of children from low-income families who are on the autism spectrum will be eligible for behavioral therapy under Medi-Cal, the state’s health plan for the poor.

California is among the first states to respond to a recent rule by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that requires the therapy to be covered, when deemed medically necessary, as part of a “comprehensive array of preventive, diagnostic and treatment services” for low-income people 21 and under. (Medi-Cal is California’s version of Medicaid.)

This type of treatment includes the sometimes costly “applied behavioral analysis,” which uses intensive drills and rewards to teach kids how to communicate and interact socially.

In California, a huge percentage of the population that stands to benefit is Latino. About a third of beneficiaries speak Spanish as their primary language, yet historically their communities have been underserved because of a shortage of Spanish-speaking providers and meager outreach and education efforts.

California, however, is ahead of many states: It already has programs in place that cover a portion of autistic kids through public school districts and the California Department of Developmental Services.

Although several states, including Louisiana and Washington, have taken early steps to make behavioral therapy for autism, others offer little or no public coverage for it.

Roughly 1 in 68 kids in the country has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“For as long as I can remember, when a family called me for help, I had to ask them what kind of insurance they had. If they had Medi-Cal, there wasn’t much I could do to help them,” said Kristin Jacobson of Autism Deserves Equal Coverage, a Burlingame, California-based advocacy group. “Now they’ll have access to this treatment that can help these children reach their potential.”

At least, that’s the theory. In practice, many details remain to be worked out.

Among the unsettled questions is what rates will be paid to providers. “In every state, it’s going to be critical that rates be sufficient” to cover high-quality applied behavioral analysis, said Daniel Unumb, the executive director of the Autism Legal Resource Center at Autism Speaks, a national advocacy group.

“Otherwise, they will not attract sufficient providers and there will be huge problems with access.”

On the other hand, some officials warned that Medicaid programs must be on the alert for providers who might misdiagnose or over-prescribe services in the interest of greater profits.

The challenge is that clinicians don’t yet fully understand autism or the amount and type of treatment from which different children will benefit most, said Matt Salo, the executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors. States are still “trying to get a handle on what is this all going to mean. Is this going to be an open ended entitlement to a very nebulous set of services that could continue forever or a more specific, targeted intervention?” he said.

California will seek to contain costs by setting fixed rates for care, under a managed care model, officials said. Even so, some observers remain concerned that the influx of thousands of kids newly eligible for autism treatment could overwhelm an already-strapped system.

Last year, the state Department of Developmental Services (DDS) spent roughly $88 million on behavioral treatment for about 7,500 children believed to be eligible for Medi-Cal. The state Department of Health Care Services, which runs Medi-Cal, won’t speculate on how many kids may sign up for the treatment for the first time as a result of the new rule on Medi-Cal coverage – but advocates say the state could be covering between 4,000 and 6,000 additional children.

Most of the kids expected to benefit have been eligible for Medi-Cal for some time – so, for them, the state can’t draw the blanket federal subsidies offered under the recent Medicaid expansion provided for in the nation’s health law. The federal government will cover just half the costs; California will have to absorb the rest.

The state will most likely cover any new expenses with money from the general fund, said Dylan Roby, a health care economist at the University of California, Los Angeles’ Fielding School of Public Health. If that runs dry, “they would need to pay for it by moving funds around, cutting existing programs, or getting additional appropriations from the state legislature and governor later in the year or as part of the next budget package,” Roby wrote in an email.

Still unclear is how the new system of Medi-Cal coverage will mesh with the bureaucracies and funding already in place for treatment of children in public schools and through DDS regional centers. Some advocates expect these systems to remain in place for the near term, but state officials said they could not yet discuss their plans.

For poor families, the coverage does not remove every obstacle. Some families can’t take the time off work to attend behavioral treatment regimens, which often require an adult to accompany a child. It can be a commitment of up to 40 hours a week-- the equivalent of a full-time job.

Perhaps one of the most challenging issues for state officials will be reaching out to poor families -- making sure they understand the disorder and don’t delay diagnosis or treatment out of any sense of denial or stigma.

For many years, Cruz rationalized Shirley’s behavior: she was her youngest, the last of four. She had been babied; she was naturally quiet. When the DDS regional center that diagnosed Shirley inexplicably stopped calling about providing treatment, Cruz accepted it without pushing back.

A conversation with a friend from church about a year ago woke her up. They were talking about how Shirley’s schoolmates had spit on and hit her. Cruz confided that she loved her daughter, but she could not accept that she might have this condition. Her friend chided her, saying that what Shirley needed was her mom’s unconditional support; otherwise Cruz was no better than the bullies.

It was a harsh thing to say. But it also marked a turning point. Since then, Cruz has pored over legal and scientific texts and vigorously pressed her local DDS regional center to help her daughter. She’s dropped off letters spelling out the treatment she believes Shirley is entitled to, complete with the legal codes. She’s even taken a bus with other advocates to Sacramento to push for better access to treatment for all autistic children.

But until a reporter mentioned it this month, Cruz was unaware that Medi-Cal – her daughter’s insurance plan—would soon cover behavioral therapy. Cruz only wishes she could have gotten services for Shirley earlier—her daughter might be better off. Still, Cruz is hopeful the new rules will finally give Shirley a better chance at succeeding in school and making friends.

“It makes me happy ... It’s important for her life, for her future,” Cruz said. Right now, “our children are losing out a lot.”

LAUSD’S STUDENTS NEED BETTER LIBRARIES, NOT iPADS + smf’s 2¢

A good school library is not in conflict with technology; it can enhance our understanding and use of it

Op-Ed By Rebecca Constantino in the LA Times |  http://lat.ms/1uEk1L7

San Pedro Elementary

A student reads a book after visiting the library at San Pedro Elementary School. (Los Angeles Times)

Sept 15, 2014  ::  Like Supt. John Deasy and others in the Los Angeles Unified School District, I am concerned about the educational civil rights of the district's students. While the iPad-for-every-student controversy has gotten much media coverage lately, a long-term problem has gotten very little attention: the lack of equal access to a quality school library. A 19-month investigation by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights concluded in 2011 that thousands of LAUSD students were being denied equal educational opportunities, which included libraries with sufficient books and staffing.

Although the research is inconclusive regarding the results of providing every child a laptop, it is overwhelmingly positive for providing students well-stocked, well-staffed school libraries. In fact, an internal LAUSD memo from June attests to "the correlation between student achievement and well-staffed and well-stocked school libraries. This correlation is documented in many longitudinal studies. Access to such libraries is a necessary tool for student achievement and the implementation of the Common Core."

The state school library association recommends 28 library books per child. LAUSD falls far short of that goal. Some schools have as few as seven books per child. Older schools have outdated and uninteresting collections.

The district has not provided significant funding for school libraries since 1997. The funding provided in the past was measly and later slashed. Although there are some well-stocked school libraries in the district, this is a result of parental support and fundraising. According to district records, LAUSD provides no funding to provide current and up-to-date print and electronic collections. There is no significant funding at the state or federal level.

Students who have access to high-quality school libraries learn more, get better grades, score higher on standardized tests and enjoy reading more. - 

A great library includes not only a great collection but also a well-trained, enthusiastic staff. In the district, the ratio is one teacher-librarian to nearly 6,000 students. Elementary schools that have libraries that are open staff them with aides who work, on average, three hours a day and not every day in some schools. This leaves no time for real interaction with students, staff and the collection.

For many people, the school library seems old-fashioned and even unnecessary in this electronic age. However, the research and kids don't support that notion. Across the United States, studies have shown that students who have access to high-quality school libraries learn more, get better grades, score higher on standardized tests and enjoy reading more. Many students tell me that a well-stocked library is the best thing about school. One fifth-grader said, "I never knew about so many great things until I got to find out about them in the library." Another called the library "magical."

I've asked many students: If they had to choose, would it be a laptop or a library? Overwhelmingly, they choose the library. "Man, someone who wants to do that doesn't know about kids. We all want the library," said one. Many reported fatigue from reading on a tablet. They still want to hold a book, flip the pages.

Two significant findings have resulted from studies comparing reading on a tablet versus reading a book: Adults and children skim more and comprehend less when they read on a tablet.

Many of the students whose civil rights are being violated based on the quality of the school library have little, if any, access to print materials. They have few books at home, and for many, the public library is inaccessible. For some students, the bus trip to the library is long. Many students tell me they would love to go to the public library but the one near their home is "scary."

"There are a lot of homeless people and I am really afraid. Plus, my parents won't let me go alone," a student in Hollywood told me.

A school library is not in contradiction to technology but rather should enhance our use and understanding of it. Effective school libraries are more than books. They are hubs of learning with well-trained and well-supervised staff. The school library is one of the best options for addressing the civil rights of our students.

Rebecca Constantino is the founder and executive director of Access Books, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the quality of school libraries.


2cents small I cannot and will not argue with anything Rebecca says above.

But it is the unsaid and unwritten that must be addressed. The books-to-student ratio, the number of shelf-feet per library, the hours of access and the age and the relevancy of the collection, the inventory of fiction, non-fiction and reference books – the technology and the catalog and all the rest are meaningless without paid professional staff to operate the library.

The library is the most important classroom in the school, but a library without a librarian is a book room.

Up until recently LAUSD-under-Deasy has been unwilling to fund librarians. If a school wanted a librarian (called a library aide in elementary) they had to find the money somewhere to pay for one. Couch-cushion money, washing machine money, bake sale money. Spare change.  Do you want a counselor? Do you want a nurse? Classroom aides, enough paper towels and toilet paper to last all year? like that. 

Now the District is out hiring lots of three hour a day library aides– with three (count ‘em) three hours of training – to staff libraries. Library aides are not security aides with an orange vest and a roll of stickers – they are paraprofessionals whose qualifications, duties and responsibilities are defined in the Ed Code. Three hour employees don’t get benefits yet they are responsible for a couple of hundred thousand dollar inventory of books – and they must do allthe wonderful things Rebecca outlines for not quite a living wage after three hours of training.

That the District is funding the positions is good news, make no mistake. But it’s nowhere near good-enough news.