Sunday, December 18, 2011

Teenagers Complain

notyetLAUSD will not back down from bold and innovative food.  We are certain that next to learnings the subject/ verb agreement, learning to eat something other than carnival food is in the realm of possibility for LAUSD students.  LA Times story about LAUSD's capitulation to whining teenagers can be found here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

870 tiny wounds

I'm trying to figure out this UTLA/LAUSD contract.  UTLA doesn't lose any members for the next 3 years because of a hold on PSC (PSC was probably going to die anyway).  Schools now get to get create mini-reformish experiments. Up to this point I am neutral, no real negotiating and as I mentioned, I think this was a mercy rule decision.

 My paranoia:  I can only see teachers fighting with each other at schools.  In the end its not the reforms the district is pushing or the saved jobs that standout.  In the end its moving to a school culture where there is more hostility within the school among teachers.  Now a small fraction of teachers get to work together to change the school towards a few predefined acceptable reforms.  In reality only a small number of teachers will believe enough in these reforms and have the will to make it happen, most likely in the face of a variety of oppositions.  Changing a school would require at least 50% approval on the changes.  Some people will just want the status-quo either due to apathy or they are veterans and know how to get their way regardless of the ed-reform fashion.   I'm not interested in these people.  What about the teachers that want to make changes, but they don't fall in-line with pre-approved script of reforms negotiated by UTLA and LAUSD, these people will also fight.    I've been part of a PSC school and I know that only a few teachers at a given school will have the will to write 300 page plans.

I don't think anyone really comes out ahead on this, but hey its reform.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Update: PSC is not “public school choice

This post is an update to: PSC is not “public school choice"

Update for 12/12/11 contracts, board members, and the limits of self-delusion

Public School Choice is looking to go the way of numerous other district innovations, oblivion.  While most district innovations tend to get ignored from successive bureaucrats, PSC is dying a different death.  PSC’s death is the result of dozens of stakeholders running away from it in different directions, not a simple union vote. 

Death number 1, not with a twenty-foot poll.  Whatever PSC was, no one who worked on it in central wanted to keep it going at a day to day level.  The position to run PSC within the district could not be filled, it got talked about, even posted for a time, but no one wanted to run it.  Who was running it before? The previous keepers of PSC were people that were assigned to run it after their prior jobs were eliminated. 

Death number 2, limits of self-delusion.  PSC relied on some god awful criteria that would have chewed up most of the district’s schools if it had kept increasing raw API 20 points a year up to 800 points.  Whatever PSC was, it was targeted to improve chronically low performing schools, once you’ve tackled all the chronic low performing, why keep it going?   The PSC 3.0 criteria relied on strict achievement measures regardless of the some schools having high Value Added scores, in other words some schools were on PSC because of outside factors and not the teachers.  Once the district crossed streams with its Value Added and PSC goals, they discovered some schools were severely mislabeled and took them off PSC 3.0.  Not only were some schools taken off PSC, once you account for the teacher’s role in educating students via Value added measures, some schools that had appeared to be high achieving were in fact abysmal.   With two different criteria for evaluating schools the district would not be able to keep PSC while pursuing Value Added Models.

Death number 3, Board members found their voices. Tamar Galatzan cracked the veneer when she kept her new schools to herself, she wanted new schools fed by high achieving schools to remain public schools.  Once the idea that fundamental parts of PSC could change, there was a frenzy of board members looking to tweak it.  Why new schools were ever put on the list made little sense, unless it was the district’s way of saying they had no faith in their administrators to handle opening new schools.  Tamar, Kayser, LaMotte, and Zimmer all gave dissents to the status quo with PSC.

Death number 4, Voting. The votes on PSC schools, parent, advisory, community, faculty, etc, really meant nothing until the Board vote.  Keep in mind the vote on PSC schools is not on all schools that got put on PSC, just those that Deasy allowed to get past him.  In other words Deasy was able to come up with new criteria late in the game for PSC 3.0 schools and took a bunch off.  This was the right move and acknowledged just how backwards the PSC 3.0 criteria was, at the same time it meant schools that were not taken off had lost the confidence of the superintendent to keep running under their current formation.  No matter what the public thought, it didn’t matter because their voice had been removed by a report furnished by our new director of parent involvement Maria Casillas, then head of Families in Schools.  Families in Schools was dismayed to see 80% of parents at PSC schools were happy with their school .  The only information the Board members have to vote on is their own presumptions about reform® and Deasy’s passive dismissal of the school when he had a chance to save it.  If your thought the Board followed the recommendations of the readers and the superintendent, please look at PSC 2.0 votes.

Death number 5, The Mercy Rule.  There is simply too much embarrassment for the district to continue PSC as the PSC policy would begin to attack wealthier and wealthier schools with it's backwards criteria. UTLA came in with a mercy offer to embed language that nullified PSC in it's new contract.  UTLA makes it look like they fought off PSC with the district to look good for its members and LAUSD gets to drop PSC.  It’s a win for both bureaucracies, LAUSD doesn’t admit a wrong the UTLA gets to pretend it got a “major victory” for its members.
At the end of the day we have to ask is getting rid of PSC for the wrong reasons acceptable, or could we have had an honest conversation so we could learn?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Guide to Recruiting and Retaining Winning Students like a charter

notyetLAUSD’s Public School Guide to Recruiting and Retaining Winning Students

LAUSD is failing miserably at competing for students.  Tamar Galatzan got it right in her recent LA times op-ed piece declaring thing is clear: If LAUSD wants to compete for students, and if it wants to survive and thrive as a system it needs to encourage reform, innovation and excellence at every school, from every teacher and every principal. It needs to champion reform, from the inside out.”  LAUSD needs to reform how it competes for students.  Currently LAUSD just sits on its laurels and lets students just come to them. The goal of notyetLAUSD is to teach students in the public, not every member of the public, they can go to notyetCharter schools.

 In the spirit of best practices notyetLAUSD is taking a page from Charter Schools; to train administrators and teachers on how to recruit and retain winning students.  Many charter schools send their teachers and administrators into the community to recruit students to their schools when they first open.  This is notyetLAUSD’s guide to be distributed to every teacher and administrator so they can become highly effective recruiters.

Where to recruit.  Did you ever see that Kevin Bacon movie where he goes to Africa to find the next basketball star because tall people are found in Africa?  Its like that.  LAUSD is Africa and our teachers and administrators are thousands of Kevin Bacons searching for the right families.  Like Kevin Bacon who knew that going to the tribal parts of Africa would yield the best talent, our talent scouts need to know where to look.

Single Family vs Apartments. Avoid apartments and converted houses.When buying a home you quickly learn that a single family home on a block with apartments is worth less than one built on a street with other single family homes.  Single family homes even in poor neighborhoods are still more valuable than apartments. Single family homes are typically the more affluent working poor, and if your lucky you will knock on a door where one parent is able to stay home.  Single family residencies are more likely to yield involved parents.

Clean lawns.  Look at the front of a house. Messy houses are usually run by people whose lives are a mess and their kids are a mess too.  

Network.  Once you find a single family where one parent can stay home make sure to network with this parent, look for other families to contact and for areas to avoid.  One well connected stay at home parent can give you a road map to fulfill your quota of contacts.

Know your section 8 housing. This should be pretty simple.  While section 8 parents might have more free time to volunteer, there is a reason they have that free time.  Use your networking skills from above to help determine these houses, usually they are  apartments anyway.

Bring your Bibles.  Every once in a while you come to a seemingly nice house and the front looks inviting, but as soon as you go inside you see the picture of a kid in a wheelchair.  The best solution is here it to pretend to be part of some church.  Instead of talking about your school, pull out a bible.  If by accident you already started talking about your school, make up something about how the accommodations would be better served at another school.

Don’t walk up any ramps.  A house with a ramp means a wheel chair and a wheel chair means an IEP.  You want to stay away from families with IEPs because these kids cost lots of money, money that would otherwise go towards your annual test score performance bonus pay.  You bring in one IEP student and there goes tens of thousands of dollars from the bonus pool.  Besides its better that all the IEP kids go to one or two IEP schools where they have the cost advantage to buy in bulk.

Foster Kids.  No

Timing is essential.  You will want to do your recruiting right after school lets out for the summer and right before the start of the year.  Parents with money and thus those who can afford additional opportunities for students will send their kids off in the middle of the summer.  The two weeks of vacation that bookend the start and end of the school year are great times to show up to a house and assess the students who answer the door.  

Policy Change:  First LAUSD needs to end the neighborhood school clause that mandates students be given guaranteed placement in their neighborhood school.  By eliminating neighborhood schools we free public schools from the shackles of lazy parents who aren’t willing to compete for their child’s education.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mash-Up Madness Tamar Galatzan Vs. notyet LAUSD

I love mash-ups

In the spirit of Mash-ups I've taken Tamar Galatzan's recent LA Times Op-ed on the need for reform®.  Tamar's words remain unchanged.  notyetLAUSD is in red

By Tamar Galatzan  and notyet LAUSD

November 29, 2011 and December 1, 2011

Our school system is fracturing. While the Los Angeles Unified School District and its bargaining partners, the unions, endlessly debate how best to fix the system, parents and students are walking away from LAUSD. People move, the economy sucks and LA is high rent.

 I know because I'm not only a member of the school board, I'm the mother of two elementary school students in the district. 

Traditional, district-run schools are seen as bureaucratic, handcuffed by red tape, and a growing number of parents are choosing charter schools instead.
The op-ed opinion of the head of our school district.  I like charter schools because they can kick out the kids we don’t like and my child is surrounded by other children whose parents were motivated, like me, to take the time to apply.   There are now nearly 200 charter and affiliated-charter schools in Los Angeles serving nearly 100,000 students. Each charter approved by the Board.  These are public schools run by private organizations, with more autonomy than traditional schools. They take public money, they are not mandated to teach every child like a traditional school.  Can we stop calling charters public.  The assumption (Good word choice here) is that, except for the hard-to-get-into magnets or the highest-performing neighborhood schools, the best way to get a good education in L.A. is to head for classrooms dedicated to reform.  As a parent do I send my child to the school with the 900 API score but a 2.2 AGT or do I send my kid to the 650 API school with a 5.0 AGT.  If I really cared about my child learning I would send them to a high AGT school, but any self respecting parent would send their kid to the 900 API school.    Not surprisingly, a recent USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll showed 52% of respondents had a favorable opinion of charters, while only 24% considered traditional schools effective.  Cherry picked goodness.

In fact, that's not true. But one thing is clear: If LAUSD wants to compete for students
What students are public schools competing for?  Which students are more desirable than others.  Competing for students is like Grand Theft Auto, hit the high CST scorers and your school get points but if you hit the uninvolved parent that won’t apply to a “choice” system then your school loses points., and if it wants to survive and thrive as a system, it needs to encourage reform, innovation and excellence at every school, from every teacher and every principal. It needs to champion reform, from the inside out. What “reform” are you talking about the pejorative sense of reform®, those reforms don’t actually improve student outcomes.  Why don't we stop making races and competitions for a universal right?  

 To do that means removing impediments to change.
 The district's central administration needs to be more flexible and open. But that alone won't lead to reform from within the district. We also need the district's partners, the unions, to become more flexible.  Does this mean central administration will actually sign off a single ESBBM waiver.

For example, district schools need to be allowed to control their destinies. That means giving them local control over their finances and over professional development. It means giving individual schools the ability to hire their own staff, using criteria that aren't limited to seniority. And it means allowing schools to adopt a stronger, fairer, more complete teacher evaluation system.
Does this mean when a community picks a principal, they will actually get their first or second choice and not a Deasy must place (see Woodland Hills academy in your district).  I’m not against changing the stull, but it would be nice if my administrator actually did the current 1 page stull.  I doubt giving me two administrators with 63 measures multiple times over the year is actually going to do anything positive for me.  I’m not against choosing new hiring criteria, but we had a system up to 2007 for dealing with hard to staff schools equitably that the board dismantled.   As for the value of seniority, Thomas Kane, patron saint of Value Added has shown consistently that seniority beats out the inexperienced (save for TFA kids who are test obsessed teachers, typically not in it for the long haul).    When we say control destinies who gets to define a successful school, the community or Central still gets final say.  If LAUSD had made the model T their slogan would've been “you can paint your car any color you want as long as it ends up black.”  What good is community input if the only yardstick $5 billion LAUSD will use is the State's CST scores.

The district and the union have already agreed to loosen contract rules in some instances — for specific pilot programs, and under waivers for plans submitted under the Public School Choice program. PSC allows district outsiders (mostly charter operators) or insiders (teachers and administrators) to apply to institute a reform plan at failing schools. But the union has capped pilot programs, and waivers are hard to get. 
And central doesn’t sign off on a waiver when a community asks for one.

On top of that, as a board member, I've been told that teachers and administrators are pressured to submit only PSC plans that conform to union rules.  In the end, district insiders are often frustrated because the outsiders' PSC applications tend to win the day — often because the outsiders can provide the reforms and local school control parents want. 
How does a school plan lose to a charter, when the charter never even applied to run the school (Clay MS).   Are you saying you vote for Charter backed plans simply because they don’t have union rules.  Do you even bother to read the plans to see which one serves the community best?  Do you know the needs of schools that are not in your community    Are you aware that 80% of charters do not outperform their public peers?

The origin of union rules and the reasoning behind the union contract protections are understandable. An overwhelming majority of our teachers work hard, in challenging conditions. They are not paid what they are worth to Los Angeles. But even with appropriate protections from angry parents and unfair supervisors, union rules were never meant to prevent flexibility or accountability or to force out talented new teachers. 
Duh, that is why talented officials at the district came up with means to distribute these talented teachers across the district and shield them from layoffs.  This is also where Board members that authorize charters that do not outperform their public peers could close low performing charters and return those class seats and teaching positions back to the “young talented teacher.”  BTW the research suggests such rookies teachers are extremely uncommon.

Going charter cannot be the only viable to path to reform for Los Angeles schools.
But it is the only one the Board votes for, see affiliated charter school boom in 900 API plus schools desperate to keep those low performers from transferring in.  The union must give our teachers and principals the chance to generate in-district reform, or the LAUSD ( I think you meant The LAUSD) will splinter. The district is packed with principals and teachers with passion, energy and innovative ideas.  These ideas can happen with existing rules, it takes teachers and administrators to take the time to read the rules and make their ideas work. .  It's time to support them, with compromises to increase pilot programs and waivers, with support that will increase their success in taking charge of PSC schools, and with new contracts that allow teachers and principals — the district insiders — to be reformers too.  We must experiment with your top down ®eforms?  Why doesn't Central start signing off on internal reforms (ESBMM and others) and then we talk about what contract rules need to change.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

notyetLAUSD to release Value Added Parent Score

Tiger Parents rejoice, Value Added Parent scores are the technocratic validation you have been waiting for.  Are you tired of waiting 16 years to see if you child made it into Harvard a year early?  Get instant validation on your parenting thanks to Value Added Parent scores.

LAUSD  is sitting on a treasure trove of Value Added Parent Scores.  Before Teacher Value Added scores are calculated, LAUSD calculates student level growth.   Every child has a value added growth score.  Student value added scores are based on student growth on CST tests after statistically nullifying the impact of gender, race, English language learner status, free-and reduced-price lunch (poor), disability (severe and mild) an homelessness. 

LAUSD simply needs to take the student growth scores and account for teacher effects on student growth, like years teaching and student's prior test performance. 

After we recalculate student performance and statistically nullify the social effects on students as well as the teacher effects we are left with Parent effects.  A rough translation of the formula is Student Scores - Social factors - Teacher factors = Parent Value

We plan to release these scores directly to parents, wait a few minutes and then wait for the LA Times to sue us to release the Value Added Parent Scores.  We will pretend to care about the scores being released, wait a few weeks and make them public.  Finally we will let the LA Times release a database of Parent Value Added scores.

Please use the comments about what we should do with the top 10% or parents and bottom 10% of parents.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wasserman foundation pays $4 million in reparations to LAUSD for PSC.

notyetLAUSD is excited that the Wasserman foundation will begin to pay reparations to thousands of school teachers across LAUSD who have had to devote countless hours of their time to writing PSC plans.  notyetLAUSD sees the Wasserman foundation responsible for PSC in its role of paying for several key staffers to work at LAUSD to help write PSC.  Thanks to the Wasserman foundation thousands of teachers at public and charter schools had to devote tens, usually hundreds of hours, to writing their school’s plan for PSC bids.  For those teachers at public schools and many charters, they had to take time away from supporting instruction to write a plan that will not be read.

While not explicitly stated, we cannot imagine the sorrow and hurt the Wasserman foundation must have felt when it realized its well-intentioned PSC plan actually cost thousands of students many thousands of hours of attention from their teachers.  Wasserman foundation might have even felt a twinge of discomfort for labeling schools failures based on painfully simplistic criteria to be put on PSC.

The program is available for all LAUSD students because many students affected by the Wasserman foundation’s PSC plan are now at different schools.  The cynic might say this is ultimately about giving iPad2’s to all teachers to teach literacy to kids who didn’t learn good in Elementary.  notyetLAUSD sees the true altruistic and noble nature of the Wasserman foundation’s attempt to right a wrong.  We applaud the Wasserman foundation and encourage all of our readers to donate their $15 toward a teacher’s iPad2. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

LAUSD needs to convert libraries to Test Prep Centers

notyetLAUSD wants to turn LAUSD Libraries into Test Prep Centers pending approval of the a contract with the right online service provider for our test prep materials.

In reference to why LAUSD is cutting librarians Dr. Deasy recently stated that in addition to budget concerns "research shows libraries don't teach literacy."  I get the budget thing, but why say libraries don’t teach literacy, unless you know where the real value of an LAUSD education lies.   We love literacy rates at notyetLAUSD and can’t wait to get those numbers bumping.  We are thankful to Dr. Deasy for finding this research to help make our kids college and career ready

We know libraries happen to hold more than just a bunch of words, they hold information.  More importantly they hold information that is organized.  We can argue about the value of the Dewey decimal system in the age of natural language search queries, but organizing information is a hugely important skill for college bound students.  If we are to prepare college ready students they are going to need to know how find and evaluate information.  The skills of a librarian are the most essential skills of a citizen of the digital age.   

What we see as the spark of genius in Dr. Deasy’s plan is that he is showing the leadership for career ready citizens.  NotyetLAUSD thinks this is truly inspired leadership to raise kids for a career path, not just in knowledge, but also in the skills of wilful suspension of self-enlightenment that left uncapped leads to too many liberal arts majors.  

Creating testing centers in the space once occupied by libraries is a great way to capitalize on the large space often sitting awkwardly in the center of a school.  We’re not sure if we should use Kaplan, Princeton Review, or one of the other up an coming test preparation suites that can be bought online.  Clearly the future is online and our test preparation materials need to move out of the paper world like libraries and move into the online spectrum.

LAUSD has already shown how a lack of libraries for teachers goes along with increased student performance on the Tests..   This district demands data-driven instruction and best practices, without providing any source for finding this information (a library with education journals).  LAUSD has the desire for data-driven and best practices but fails at providing the most basic education journals to its staff.  None-the-less test scores go up year after year without providing teachers a single education journal, this is just further proof libraries aren’t needed when scores are the focus.  

Dump a kid in an ocean of data and they drown.

Give them a search engine and they get sucked into the strongest current.  

Give a kid the basic skills of a librarian and they can navigate an ocean of data.  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

notyetLAUSD open response to AALA

Dear AALA,

Stop your whining. This is your only warning. notyetLAUSD will not tolerate the blather of complaints put forth in your recent editorial “THE CLIMATE OF FEAR AT BEAUDRY." We are for the children, and we would suggest you get on the side of children too. You don’t want to be an administrator, fall back on your teaching credential. There is no shortage of people waiting to take your position.

“When secrecy, isolation, cronyism, self-protection and a “gotcha” attitude prevail, teamwork is impossible.” If this is what it take to teach the 21st century student, then we are all aboard.

“They do the minimum necessary to get along and oftentimes turn on their colleagues.“ – That is why we have high standards, because you dullards are good for just the minimum.

“Cynicism increases. Allowed to go unchecked, fear can be insidious, damaging the health of individuals involved and, ultimately, the organization itself.” – Blah, blah, blah

“Ensure department heads manage their staff members by engaging their talent and energy as opposed to demanding sheeplike compliance.” -We are wolf pack, we’ve made a pledge. If you are not part of the wolf pack, you are a sheep.

notyetLAUSD knows that fear is a powerful tool that we need to capitalize on the fear culture in these economic times to reach our goals. The 21st century student needs to be prepared for the ultra-competitive world they are going to enter. If administrators and teachers are not able to cope with our 21st century methods, they shouldn't be in front of children. Compliance and the status quo have no place in the 21st century. notyetLAUSD knows where this world is going with sheep-like compliance and we’re following the path like a pack of wolves.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

go away #occupyLAUSD

notyetLAUSD is insulted by the 99% #occupyLAUSD movement.  With current Superintendent John Deasy seeking “$200 million in the first three to five years, that is correct. And then I want $500 million overall.” Who do you think is going to pay that kind of money?  The top 1%...duh.  Do you think the top 1% will donate money if there are calls for the removal of corporate money and influence.  Do you think the top 1% are going to give money if they can't direct how it’s spent, we’re not expecting any donations here. 
Already there is a clear role the top 1% has played in shaping current LAUSD policy, look no further than LAUSD sponsors Walton Family, Wasserman and Broad who pay the salary of multiple high level district leaders who have transitioned from Billionaire Boy’s club salary to LAUSD salaries.  Even the Superintendent is a product of the 1% Broad’s Superintendent School.  The 1% have already seen a huge return on investment in their work with LAUSD, we cannot reach out private money fund-raising efforts unless we continue to court them.  We are going to need the top 1% business savvy if we are to start our “elect-to-work” agreements, they are the best at using such agreements.
If we don’t do what the top 1% say, we won’t be able to hire a librarian.  Are you , the 99%, saying you hate librarians?

notyetLAUSD would ask that the protesters simply go home.  Better yet, we would like the 99% to come back with an apology for offending the 1% and our current Superintendent. 

In solidarity to those who can fund our school's recovery, notyetLAUSD

P.S. 1%'s please excuse the protesters we would really like your money, and more importantly your leadership.  Some of us here do value$$$ your work.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


By now you're aware that we heckle LAUSD.   Before you defend us, by saying we offer solutions.  Our solutions are absurdest and really are just an extension of our heckling.  I just read Seth Godin's recent article on heckling and how to handle it

"But there is a strategy that works. Acknowledge and move on. When the heckler announces that you're incompetent, unqualified or hardly ready to step forward, think, "oh." And then proceed. You give it no purchase. No opportunity to escalate. Each jibe is met with "noted." Over time, the heckler gets quieter, because it just isn't worth the effort."  -Seth Godin (via Seth's Blog) track back

Here's why we heckle and will continue to.

- Even if we want to take responsibility for  something at LAUSD, we are stepping on someone's toes and we get shut down. A closed organization/person will get heckled.
- Heckling is a response of a disenfranchised agent who sees a problem but is given immensely challenging odds to do something about it.
- Heckling is a way for someone at the bottom of the Pyramid to alert  something being wrong and hope the top can communicate its intention or change a policy.
- Heckling takes time but is an effective outlet to exercise the frustrations of working with the district and lets us get back to being productive.
- Heckler's pray that they are never taken at face value, we know better than anyone how low the heckled would fall in our esteem if they engaged at our level.
- We heckle because we care.  Because the missionS of public education are too important not to be engaged.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Rheeformer moving from No Excuses to ExCUSES

Before we get to Ex.C.U.S.E.S, the new educational reform movement notyetLAUSD will lead, lets celebrate a milestone and set the stage for the need to replace "No Excuses" with "Ex.C.U.S.E.S".  Student's First is following us on twitter, probably because I made a p(h)unny when I spelled "Reformer" as "Rheeformer". To celebrate I want to devote a post to how the different versions of Michelle Rhee wold tackle her children's sucking at soccer*.

"Any effective coach can take a child from Far Below Basic in soccer skills to Proficiency"  - DC Chancellor Rhee who expects all teacher to raise kids to Proficiency regardless of background (No Excuses)

"Thanks to market systems parents can stop buying from the lousy coach and instead elect to send their child to a better coach, just allow the funds from Parks and Recreation to follow the player."  Student's First Rhee promoting a market based Voucher solution (No Excuses)

“practice hard,” “I also communicate to them that all the practice in the world won’t guarantee that they’ll ever be great at soccer. It’s tough to square this, though, with the trophies.” Mother Rhee showing that Proficiency is for everyone (No Excuses), just not Advanced (?)

"No excuses" its a battle cry, and a guideline for rhetorical blither. Michelle Rhee would never make excuses for her children not reaching proficiency (apparently she does for advanced skills). "No Excuses" really leaves us with only drastic actions a the top (fire the coach or close the program). "No Excuses" is a wonderful rhetorical tool, because you might be mistaken for thinking the opposite of "No Excuses" is "Excuses," actually its "Ex.C.U.S.E.S."

notyetLAUSD to Adopt Ex.C.U.S.E.S "Extracting Common Understanding Solutions Expectations Soundly" So far its just a working paper that focuses on developing new systems to improve schools through inclusive solutions. Ex.C.U.S.E.S is a near 180 from "No Excuses" that requires massive investment of resources to overturn educational institutions (often to only cause further regression). Ex.C.U.S.E.S does not work from a defect model that assumes a school "failing" because of test scores but instead tries to understand the school, community and culture to develop sustainable and longterm solutions. Ex.C.U.S.E.S is not flashy and does not require calling opponents "idiots," or "status quo mongers". In fact Ex.C.U.S.E.S values and included feed back from "No Excusers".

*Not a fan of sites that largely focus on one person's short comings but I think the spirit of this post excuses my actions. Rheefirst does a great job documentingMichelle Rhee's nauseating denunciation of her children's soccer skills.  

Friday, July 22, 2011

California's Audacious Plan to move up to 25th in the nation

notyet LAUSD is pleased to release this peer-reviewed and balanced working paper on how to move California from 36th up to 25th in Ed-weeks rankings.  We believe in this audacious plan and ask you to join the revolution to reach the median.   Status quo be damned California will succeed!

Pledge your support in our comments.

"One day my child will at least be mediocre" - Parent

"California will no longer be on the ass's end of education" -Generic politician

"Finally a bold and courageous voice for parents" - Rheefomrer

*Depending how you look at it in California, where notyetLAUSD is located, we rank somewhere between 14th and 43rd in the nation on various metrics of resources given to students overall about 36th.  We do great on policy and standards above 25th percentile, but we fall far behind on funding and support of actual learning.  Join the race to the middle.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Right Wing Rhetoric Bingo

Inspired by Rick Santorum's reference to Rachel Maddow where non-existed I realized just how much the right wing uses the same phrases over and over.  I would've created a drinking game based on the repeated word thing, but I'm trying to lose weight.

Solution:  Right Wing Rhetoric Bingo
Instructions: Tune into any fair and balanced right leaning broadcast and start covering phrases.  You can use your favorite BINGO patterns, play with friends or alone. (currently updates every 5 minutes, or go here to see the whole sheet)

Growth Potential: I do a similar thing with reform jargon, but its really easy to expand.  I'm thinking there is an App in this here idea, provide 24 -60 catch words and share the bingo game as a peer competition.

Update (7/21):  Please use comments to leave new words to include in the Bingo tiles.  

Monday, July 18, 2011

LAUSD Board will take 300% raise, give up revolving door

300% Raise 

notyetLAUSD will raise LAUSD Board member salaries to $138,000.  Currently LAUSD board members earn $46,000, roughly what a new teacher earns.  LAUSD board members manage $5-$7 Billion in public funds for education.  This will represent the first raise since 2007.  Do you know anywhere else where 7 people earning such a penance control a budget larger than many states.

Why are we paying more?  Charter Schools.

We have learned a best practice from Charter Management Organizations, they have privately selected board members not accountable to the public that often earn between $120K to $215K.   CMO's have higher board member salaries and higher test scores (on average), correlation? I think not. 

How do we pay the new salary? Private Fund-raising 

End of the Revolving Door 

notyetLAUSD will make Board Members sign a 3 year moratorium on taking a position with any entity that contracts with or provides guidance to LAUSD.  Marleen Canter left LAUSD to join Green Dot’s board, the Board's go to team to run schools it can't handle 1, 2.  Yollie Flores left LAUSD to join a Gates foundation project. These individuals should take their expertise gleamed while serving on the board and share it.  These individuals should not be jumping from leading a public institution into a private entity that influences the public institution immediately.  Congress members can’t lobby for a set period of time. Board members will have plenty of opportunity to comeback and influence LAUSD.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

LAUSD’s Acceptable Cheating Policy

Another sun rise, another school cheating scandal;  Atlanta, Texas “miracle”, Washington DC, LAUSD.  Lets look at another place where cheating is occurring and being dealt with to get an idea of how education will deal with it, baseball.  BarryBonds and Roger Clemens show how little we care about cheating.  What Bonds and Clemens do show is how we want to make an example of a few and ignore the many.  Everyone knows these are not the only two players to use steroids.  To keep our conscience clear we want an example to validate “we don't accept cheaters”.  
    We do accept cheaters, its just normal, souses, speed limits, resumes. So many of us cheat and we know it, yet we want to punish “cheaters” in a way that doesn't hit home.  Think how much energy is poured into talking about Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens character defects.  If we didn't have character defects established for Bonds and Clemens, we might mistake these individuals as sharing a commonality with us.  With “defective” people being punished we can go to sleep safe that our cheating is different because non-defective people, like us, “misinterpret the rules.(video)Maybe outside of education circles people already feel a dissonance toward teachers.  There is certainly a lot of noise lately to create a dissonance around teachers who work in and are committed to your local community.

NotyetLAUSD has a solution:  LAUSD Acceptable Cheating Policy (ACP).   

We hope this model will remove some of the stigma surrounding cheating so we can integrate cheating into our expectations that come with high stakes testing.  We will use the same normalized curve (bell curve) sweeping much of the education sector, like in VAM scores.  By looking at rates of cheating on standardized tests across the nation we can create a reliable curve of cheating we can tolerate.  Zero tolerance policies are unrealistic, the data doesn't support a zero cheating environment.  ACP demands that 10% of teachers will be extreme cheaters and 10% will be minimal cheaters and the rest will fall in a tidy bell curve.  Its not fair to compare the cheating of a tenured teacher at a high API school to the cheating of a new teacher at a low API school. We can control for factors like how much stress the teachers and administrators are under to raise scores so we don't miss categorize a teacher's cheating extremeness.