Sunday, November 09, 2008



From the Associated Administrators Los Angeles Weekly Update of October 27, 2008

4LAKids doesn't necessarily agree with all the points below - but agrees wholeheartedly that LAUSD had a great tendency to leave business unfinished, responding to crises and not following through on the business at hand.

This is a failure of the Superintendent, The Board Of Education, District Staff - and because it's ingrained in the culture - of administrators and even the employee unions. If

We the District actually stayed the course and followed through on the reforms and initiatives we started out on we'd be farther along!  – smf

AALA, in its continuing effort to keep LAUSD on track, is publishing this list of unfinished business facing the Superintendent and Board of Education.

HIGH PRIORITY SCHOOLS INITIATIVE – It has been almost two years since this initiative was begun, and, toour knowledge, the identified schools are still waiting for their promised support. In addition, WASC accreditation was built into the accountability for the initiative, but instead, the District is embarking on another "school report card." Formal accreditation is the most creditable form of accountability for schools at any level, and it is already in place …so why reinvent the wheel?

PROMISING PRACTICES – For over two years, the Superintendent has stressed the need to share promising practices exemplified in schools with demonstrated success. While we have seen glimpses of these practices mainly when they are highlighted in the newspapers or on television, no organized or concerted effort has been made within the District to share these successes in a collegial manner. Rather, we have seen outside consultants hired to tell us what we are doing wrong and what we should be doing differently. AALA has always contended that our greatest professional development asset is the collective educational wisdom of District personnel. AALA is still requesting a structured District system for sharing this wisdom.

FOSTER CARE INITIATIVE – The needs of foster care children has been an area of concern for many years. To date, apparently no effort has been made to bring the District and the County of Los Angeles together in a true partnership to assist the neediest of our students. Social workers assigned to foster children could be assigned to schools where they could monitor the care for significant groups of foster children and truly serve as guardians as the Courts decree. Again, AALA is looking for the Superintendent and the Board of Education to provide the leadership to address this societal need.

SENIOR STAFF DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM – For over two years, AALA members have been promised a senior staff development program so that qualified LAUSD individuals could have a transparent pathway for administrative leadership and promotional advancement. The Superintendent has acknowledged the talent within the District; however, no system for administrative development has been put into place. Instead, the District still seems to place a greater value on individuals from outside the District. The paraeducator career ladder, teachers academy, and principals academy are examples of what could be done with coaching and mentoring for the highest administrative levels. Again, actions speak louder than words.

PERFORMING ARTS HIGH SCHOOL – AALA is still waiting for the donations from Eli Broad and his colleagues in the Grand Avenue Partners to pay for the enhanced cost of the "waterslide" high school at 450 N. Grand Avenue. The cost escalated from 78 million to 230 million based on an agreement (can you say arrangement?) with Broad and his shadowy associates. We are still waiting for the money, which could be used to refurbish older schools and pay for any maintenance costs currently coming out of the general fund budget. And, AALA is still waiting for the transparency that this “verbal” agreement deserves.

SUPPORT FOR PRINCIPALS – AALA continues to address instances of inappropriate interference in school activities by a small number of Local District and Central office administrators, who appear to have lost sight of their primary purpose-to assist and support rather than meddle. Mr. Superintendent, please reinforce your statements at your opening administrative meeting where you stressed the need for local school initiative and the rendering of support for principals.

HEALTH BENEFITS – When will District leadership recognize that health benefits are an inalienable right of all eligible employees? Employees are overly stressed with the lack of good faith bargaining and the seemingly unwillingness of District leadership to support an agreement so carefully initiated by former District Superintendent William J. Johnston and supported by all subsequent superintendents through good times and bad.

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