Tuesday, August 19, 2014



RED Queen Written by red queen in la in LAUSD, from her blog | http://bit.ly/1pXYPOk

Monday Aug 18, 2014  ::  …and isn’t that Buck supposed to have been stopping somewhere? Somewhere other than at the kids’ feet?

This past week, the first back in school for LAUSD kids, has seen an absolutely ridiculous mess due to MiSiS, the court-mandated, “Integrated Student Information System” more honestly termed, simply: “CriSiS”.

By their own admission, a “majority of district-run schools have reported being able to register students”, which implies, if you think about it, that …. a “near-majority” have not been able to register students.

Um, what? Why is this sort of pedantic word-parsing even emanating from the mouths of central administrators who are supposed to be working for our kids??

There have been reports of grade schoolers enrolled in High Schools and long-enrolled kids bumped from enrollment registers altogether. There have been reports of kids enrolled in the wrong school just because it was geographically closest to them, but not the right “type” (grade school rather than middle). There are reports of multiples bumping sibs from enrollment lists and random assignments of duplicate classes. There are reports of random omission of any class whatsoever from sporadic periods and classrooms of nonrandom gender imbalance. There are reports of classes enrolled to the seventy-kid mark and hundreds left waiting, classless, in auditoria and roaming the halls. There are reports of counselors spending many, many dozens of nervous-making above-and-beyond (unpaid) overtime-hours enrolling kids in classes, only to discover those enrollments didn’t “stick” afterall.

And while the administrators may be sweating bullets, it is actually the students who are suffering. For how long have how many been left twiddling thumbs awaiting administrative remedies, or relegated to incorrect classes while those with expectations of them proceed with either a deck too-full or one under-subscribed?

How can this be perceived as anything shy of disrespectful?

We have, after all, asked our children to curtail their summer formerly designed to inject some measure of autonomy and creativity within an otherwise overly-structured academic calendar year. Given how much these children have been forced to give up, can we not at the least usher them back into a system ready for their return? If not ready for them, why must they be forced to remain present simply for the sake of collecting a per capita attendance stipend only, at the expense of their own, even extracurricular or off-campus education?

Apparently our public school kids are denied not only a modicum of respect in relegating them to absorb the burden of this implementation-failure, but they are more generally denied a place of respect in deserving advance-resolution of implementation problems. As is well-noted by top LAUSD officials, this is a hugely complex information system being unfurled, and problems are very much to be expected. What is not to be expected is that the system’s very end users should double as unwitting trouble-shooters. Our most influential media remain only mildly titillated by such inconveniencing of hundreds of thousands.

Not so the people tasked with actually working with our kids directly. These teachers and counselors are appalled by the fallout of this debacle, big and small. The teacher’s union representative, Alex Caputo-Pearl considers this imbroglio in a larger context, observing that “the Superintendent was considering rushing into this continues a distressing pattern of running headlong into technology fiascos that drain the budget and aren’t good for students—like the iPad rollout and the Common Core testing experiences”.

But meanwhile, spokesmen downtown are backpeddling and spinning euphemisms and frantically minimizing what is clear on the ground: our children’s precious time is wasted by schools in such disarray. Not by the teachers and understaffed administrators onsite, who are scrabbling to be – and largely succeeding at being — affective despite the crisis. But by a system so imbalanced that it fails to structure and support our children’s scholastic rights.

Conspicuously absent from the fray is commentary from the system’s head honcho. While boardmember and former superintendent-enthusiast Tamar Galatzan calls for an investigation of “snafus”, nowhere is that much-ballyhooed “accountability” and “grit” and tenaciousness expected of children in the face of overwhelming external circumstances, evident.

Why, while first-order interactive staff, aka teachers, are expected to assume responsibility for student outcomes that are causally indirect at best, are managerial staff not held accountable for circumstances that unambiguously hobble the classroom experience directly?

It seems not untoward that our school leader, the one who is “supposed to run the district”, John Deasy, be right out there in front, apologizing and attempting to mitigate, not excusing or encourage others to excuse, the crisis under his watch.

Our children deserve better. Better support, better implementation and “district-running”, better respect. But then again, it is not the children of these business leaders who are affected by a snafu in public school policy; their children only scantily attend such public schools. What does it take for business leaders to hold those from their own ranks accountable?

No comments: