FROM John Deasy
Superintendent Deasy on iPad Controversy The $1 billion dollar iPad program in L.A’s public schools is now on hold. Superintendent John Deasy has halted the rollout after an internal report questioned the awarding of the contract to Apple, which makes iPads, and Pearson, the company developing the curriculum for the tablets. Emails suggest that Deasy and other LAUSD officials strategized with Apple and Pearson before the contract was put out to bid. And the report suggests the bidding rules were altered to favor Pearson and Apple.
The State of the LAUSD, Taking Advantage of LA’s Public School System Next Tuesday is back to school day for LA Unified and, yesterday, Superintendent John Deasy gave his annual State of the District address at Garfield High School in East LA. He said new state money will help reverse years of recession-era cutbacks, while hundreds of new teachers, librarians and other staff are being hired. Fifteen hundred administrators were in the audience, and each seat featured a sealed envelope—with the name of a high school freshman at risk of dropping out. John Deasy joins us tonight.
What Will the Looming Austerity Cuts Mean for Los Angeles? At the moment there does not seem to be an alternative to the deep federal budget cuts, known as the " sequester ," going into effect on Friday. It looks like $85 billion in cuts to discretionary programs this year, and $1.2 trillion over the next decade. No one is precisely sure how this will affect California, the City of Los Angeles and you .
Do Republicans Have a Future in Sacramento? Governor Brown and the Democrats' legislative majority balanced this year's budget on the assumption that Proposition 30 would pass. It did -- with 54 percent of the vote statewide and 60 percent in Los Angeles. He reminded doubters that he'd run for governor on the pledge that there would be no taxes unless people voted for them, and said he looked forward to being able to pass the first balanced budget since 1998. Passage means the state sales tax will increase by a quarter cent for four years, and income taxes on high earners will rise for seven years, with most of the money going to education. If Prop 30 had failed, it would have triggered $600 billion in cuts for K-12 public schools, universities and community colleges. You can see all our election coverage at KCRW.com/californiaelections .
Public Education and Next Month's Election Two measures on next month's statewide ballot would provide new money for public schools. Proposition 38 is sponsored by LA attorney Molly Munger and backed by the State PTA . It would increase income taxes on all but the poorest Californians to raise $10 billion a year for K through 12 education. It would also impact higher education in California. Governor Brown's Proposition 30 would raise everybody's sales taxes and income taxes on those earning more than $250,000 a year. This year's budget is balanced on the assumption that Prop 30 will pass. What could happen there if Prop 30 failed to pass?
Another Battle over Student Tests to Evaluate Teachers The Los Angeles Unified School District would be eligible for $40 million in federal dollars if it could demonstrate that standardized student test scores were being used as one means of evaluating teacher performance. In addition, a local judge says that's required by state law. Superintendent John Deasy devised a voluntary performance review program, but Warren Fletcher, president of the United Teachers of LA, sent a robo-call to 38,000 members telling them not to participate. We speak with them both.
The Rationing of Public Education LA's elected school board passed a preliminary worst-case budget last night with just one dissenting vote. Although the cuts were not as severe as expected, the $6 billion plan would still eliminate thousands of jobs, close all the adult schools and cut some after-school programs as well as music and art at elementary schools. Some 11,700 pink slips have already been sent out. There are other options. Superintendent John Deasy wants concessions from labor unions he says could keep some programs open. Three initiatives on the November, 2012 ballot all could further impact public education. They are: Tax for Education and Early Childhood Programs Tax to Fund Education, Preschools, and Child Care Tax to Benefit Public Schools, Social Services, Public Safety, and Road Maintenance
LAUSD Superintendant Addresses Miramonte Scandal Miramonte Elementary School in South LA is closed today. When it opens tomorrow the staff and faculty will be entirely new . They'll stay on the job at least until the Los Angeles Unified School District completes its investigation of alleged child abuse by two long-time teachers. That's according to LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy.
Governor Brown and K-12 Education In yesterday's State of the State address, Governor Brown spent a lot of time on K-12 education, the biggest single item in the state budget. His proposals could put California out of phase with the education policies of the Obama Administration. He called for major changes in funding, testing and teacher evaluation, and for shifting more power from the state to local school boards. Brown would redirect the one-third of all state money that is earmarked for specific purposes to provide basic funding "with additional money for disadvantaged students and those struggling to learn English." He called for a reduction in test taking and in the time it takes to get test results to educators. He also called for qualitative assessments that include "a site visitation program where each classroom is visited, observed and evaluated."
State Budget Trigger Cuts to Take Effect Governor Brown announced today that triggers in state spending will be needed. Tax revenues have not met the projections assumed by this year's budget, passed by the legislature and signed by Brown. But it's not as bad as last month's prediction by the Legislative Analyst. The deficit is now $13 billion. Instead of adding $2 billion in red ink, Governor Brown's Finance Department says the current shortfall will add about half that much. The Governor has proposed that voters approve tax increased in next November's elections. He says if they don't, cuts will be harsher than ever.
Where's the Outrage? Governor Brown's failure to get tax-hike extensions on the June ballot has created an atmosphere of resignation about what's called an "all-cuts" budget. That would mean reductions of $26 billion across the board and, for LA Unified potential cuts of between $500 and $600 million. After years of cuts in bureaucracy and teacher lay-offs, what would that mean for the nation's second largest school district? John Deasy, who will take over as Superintendent later this month, has told the elected school board he'll accept a 17 percent reduction in salary from $300,000 to $275,000.
The State of LA's Public Schools President Obama's Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, told a recent labor-management conference that, in these very tough economic times, school districts and teachers' unions can solve problems best by working together. In Los Angeles, that idea may be facing a major test. Late last month, LA Unified, the state and the ACLU settled a lawsuit by agreeing that when layoffs are required 45 of the district's lowest-performing schools will not be subject to the rule that the most recently hired teachers must be the first to go.
California Loses Round Two in the 'Race to the Top' California schools have lost again in the second round of the Obama Administration's "Race to the Top" in education. After the state lost in the first round , Education Secretary Arne Duncan personally encouraged Governor Schwarzenegger to try again, and success would have meant $700 million in federal funds with $150 million for LA Unified and $18 million for Long Beach. We talk with the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the LAUSD and the California Federation of Teachers about why the State came up short for a second time.
What Makes a Good Teacher? The Los Angeles Times has created a furor at the LA Unified School District with a lengthy story called " Grading the Teachers : Who's Teaching LA's Kids?" With information provided by the district after a California Public Records Act request, some 6,000 3rd through 5th grade teachers were evaluated using what's called a "value added" analysis. We hear from a Times reporter, the leader of the teachers' union and the Deputy Superintendent of Schools.
LAUSD Deputy Superintendent John Deasy John Deasy began this week as deputy superintendent of LA Schools. Even before his first day, the Daily News says he “ ruffled feathers ” with a memo telling senior staff members to meet him in person with “organizational charts, project lists and reports on their duties.” The paper reports that prompted an email from Superintendent Ray Cortines telling Deasy the District has “a history of 'killing' outsiders” and encouraging him to “get to know people” before telling them what to do.
Healthcare debate now shifts to the Senate Both parties are celebrating yesterday's House bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. House Republicans are cheering because they were able to pass it. Democrats are happy because they think it's so bad. We look at the details… and the politics.
Trump's 'America First' goes missing abroad In the Middle East, President Trump is changing some policies of the Obama Administration—and reversing his own campaign attacks on Islam as a religion that "hates us." We hear about his visit to Saudi Arabia and what's at stake for the rest of his foreign excursion.
Trump fires FBI Director James Comey Vice President Mike Pence took the Administration's lead today in explaining why the President fired the Head of the FBI, saying, "The president made the right decision at the right time." Trump's action is being compared to the so-called "Saturday Night Massacre" that led to President Richard Nixon's resignation in 1973.
A New York Times op-ed on climate change sparks uproar The New York Times is embroiled in a public furor over a new columnist, who wrote that scientific uncertainty is reason for debate about climate change. Many conservatives are delighted. Is America's leading liberal newspaper fostering climate denial? This is the latest in our series, "The Emotional States of America."