Wednesday, October 10, 2012

DEASY GETS AUTHORITY OVER APPROVING OUTSIDE CONTROL OF PARTNERSHIP SCHOOLS + smf’s 2¢: A “done deal” for co-mismanagement of Mayor Tony’s + Megan Cherin’s schools?

by Howard Blume, LA Times |

  • 2cents smfThe Master Memorandum of Understanding between LAUSD and its partnership school operator/partners was blanket approved by the board in what one schoolboard member protested was a “done deal” for an additional five years yesterday


  • #32: “Your school board starts to show signs of Stockholm Syndrome. They vote in lockstep with the superintendent.”
  • #33: “Superintendent bypasses school board entirely and keeps them out of the loop on significant or all issues.”


Mayor Tony – the ‘Mayor” in the  “Mayor’s Partnership”  (aka PLAS) imported Broad Superintendent Academy alumni Deasy from The Gates Foundation and picked him to be LAUSD Supe when the previous selection wasn’t exactly working out to Tony’s liking.  Tony stops being mayor next July:  Whither the Mayor’s Partnership after Tony ?

Melanie Lundquist spoke in favor of continuing the partnership agreement with PLAS at yesterday’s meeting

  • Lundquist and her husband subsidized the PLAS to the tune of $10 million a year for the first five years.
  • Lundquist claimed that she and her husband are the principal funders of the Partnership. This is a misstatement, the taxpayers are the main funders of all the partnerships by a huge margin.
  • No board member asked Lundquist if she intended to keep writing those checks.
  • Ms. Lundquist confesses that her  involvement with PLAS is very day-to-day and ‘hands on’ – it could be styled the “Lundquist Partnership”. She claims to sign all checks over $5000 – which appears to give her spending authority over taxpayer money.

Megan Chernin – The CEO of “L.A. ’s Promise” is also a  partner with Deasy in the LA Fund for Los Angeles Education, LAUSD’s principal non-profit fundraiser and bankroller of Breakfast in the Classroom and the new arts education initiative. Who decides what star studded fundraising gala supports which program? 

More money lost than raised?: The California Department of Education has pulled Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA)  grant funding totaling $60 million over three years from schools in  PLAS and L.A. Promise for failure to meet performance targets. 85 traditional LAUSD schools met the targets.

October 9, 2012 |  9:04 pm  ::  L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy received broad authority Tuesday to renew or end agreements by which two outside organizations run traditional public schools, including a group of schools under the control of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

The Board of Education approved giving Deasy the new authority when it approved extensions of agreements with the mayor’s Partnership for Los Angeles Schools and L.A.'s Promise.

The teachers union and two school board members called for a delay, seeking a more extensive review of the schools’ performance.

The original five-year contracts were scheduled to expire at the end of the current academic year. The groups now can go forward for up to five years. But the renewal does not guarantee that any individual school will remain under outside control. Under the terms, schools will be evaluated individually; a low-performing campus could still be reabsorbed under direct district control.

The mayor’s schools enjoyed a strong year of progress overall, but some of his schools have done much better than others over five years. The higher performers include Ritter Elementary and 99th Street Elementary. Little or no cumulative progress has been made on test scores at Gompers Middle School and Roosevelt High School.

The union was especially concerned about a lack of input into the new agreements—both from the union itself and from teachers at the affected schools.

When the partnerships started, teachers had a greater role. They had the power to vote the school into a partnership or veto it. Later, teachers, parents and others were able to cast non-binding votes about which partners they preferred for a school, with the school board then making the final decision.

Under the new agreement, the renewal process belongs to the superintendent, based on parameters applied by his appointed reviewers.

The mayor’s partnership manages 15 campuses with some 15,000 students.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the more controversial renewal was for L.A.’s Promise, which manages three schools. A teacher praised the turnaround at Muir Middle School, but speakers were divided about progress at West Adams Preparatory High School and Manual Arts High School.

The vote occurred on the same day as the annual star-studded fundraising gala for L.A.’s Promise, which this year featured a performance at LA Live by magician David Copperfield.

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