Published in the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles update for the week of September 22 with the title: KUDOS TO SCHOOL STAFFS FOR KEEPING IT TOGETHER! | http://bit.ly/JidN0H
September 22, 2014 :: This school year’s opening has been one of the worst in history for school staffs. Not since the 1994 Northridge earthquake has the normal, day-to-day, operation of the school been so challenged. That natural disaster brought school closures, damaged buildings, power outages, loss of water, broken equipment, high student and staff absences and general turmoil throughout most of the LAUSD. But the MiSiS crisis has been far worse, in that it was not caused by forces beyond our control, like Mother Nature, but by our own District. With the unfortunate decision to move swiftly, caution was thrown to the wind and pleas by those in the field to delay implementation were ignored. Secondary students began school with their schedules in disarray and both elementary and secondary schools were unable to get required reports, teachers could not access student information for assignment purposes and enrollment had to be counted by hand.
“This was one of the hardest school openings ever because of MiSiS!”
Comments like this from administrators in e-mails and calls bombarded the AALA office during the first weeks of school. Nevertheless, staff members held their schools together by working long hours, evenings and weekends, and tenaciously made sure students were safe and campuses were orderly.
AALA commends our members and other employees for working hard during this crisis. Students were eventually situated in the correct classes and the ITD team is working feverishly to get the system to accurately reflect information and provide administrators with the reports they need.
While the media pummels the District about the escalating iPad scandal, administrators and other staff are losing confidence in its leadership. This entire opening fiasco could have been avoided if the District had not rushed to roll out MiSiS in July 2014, when it had originally been scheduled for 2015. AALA members tried for two years to work with senior leadership and share their concrete concerns about the start date and the enhancements that were needed prior to the roll out. To its credit, the ITD team did make fixes here and there, but just did not have enough time to work out all of the bugs that any new software will contain. Time and time again, we said MiSiS was not ready for prime time and asked for a delay in order for some of the key pieces needed at the schools to be included. Why did no one at Beaudry listen to those in the field? Was it hubris, job protection, public relations, politics? What caused this insensitivity and blatant disregard for the school site?
LAUSD has now become the national example of how not to provide technology to students and how not to activate a comprehensive student information system. The Board and Superintendent are being attacked in the media. Senior staff is on the defensive and a cloud is hovering over Beaudry. Yet, school administrators and staff persevere. Teachers are teaching, campuses are safe, students are engaged, support staff is steadfast and administrators remain committed. AALA and all other school staff members should be acknowledged, applauded and appreciated for making it through this chaotic opening and providing stability for students.
WE GET LETTERS
AALA thanks the secondary administrator, who wishes to remain anonymous, for submitting this letter. The opinions expressed are those of the author.
In reference to your 09/15/2014 article: WHO WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE?
It is very convenient that Chief Information Officer Ronald Chandler and Chief Strategy Officer Matt Hill are willing to fall on their swords and take responsibility for the MiSiS CRiSiS. And very interesting that Superintendent John Deasy attempts to duck blame for the fiasco, stating “This is not my area of expertise.”
News Flash: Superintendent Deasy came to LAUSD from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
News Flash: Microsoft is the vendor for MiSiS.
News Flash: This is not the first instance of questionable financial shenanigans involving a proposed billion dollars being siphoned from the LAUSD treasury into the coffers of a major technology firm.
For the record:
- Student programming in ISIS was not implemented for years because of valid concerns around functionality requirements insisted upon by LAUSD veterans. But when it came to MiSiS, Deasy and his minions cared little about functionality requirements. We were told by the Beaudry Ivory Tower to just do it.
- Superintendent Deasy has done his best to privatize education by supporting charter schools (as does the Gates Foundation).
- Superintendent Deasy has worked hard at directing public funds to private industry, especially the technology sector.
- Superintendent Deasy will be well taken care of after he floats away from LAUSD with his golden parachute.
The fact that MiSiS was such a mess is actually a plus for Deasy and his pro-private industry masters.
After all, the glitches that need to be fixed will cost hundreds of thousands more dollars than the initial projected roll out costs of half a billion dollars. And Bill Gates does need another billion dollars. The sooner we jettison Deasy and company, the better.