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Foshay student wins national award; LAUSD kids drinking lead?

Craig Clough | February 19, 2015

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school report buzzNBC Los Angeles last night came out with a story that should disturb any LA Unified student, parent or staff member: it found that thousands of school children could be drinking from fountains tainted with dangerous levels of lead.

The report is a followup to a story first examined by NBC seven years ago, when it found lead levels in district drinking water 400 times above the amount declared safe by the EPA.

LAUSD proposed to fix the problem of aging lead pipes with a “Flushing Policy,” requiring school staff to run drinking fountains for 30 seconds every morning to remove lead built up overnight. But undercover video and internal documents obtained by NBC show that some schools are not flushing the fountains properly. Click here to see the story or click on the video below.

LAUSD student wins national tech award

Ana Hernandez, a senior in the Technology Academy at Foshay Learning Center, is one of 35 national winners for The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) “Aspirations in Computing” award.

The award, which comes with a $500 prize, a laptop computer and engraved trophies for winners and their schools, “honors young women who are active and interested in computing and technology, and encourages them to pursue their passions,” according to the NCWIT website. The 2015 winners will be honored at the Bank of America Technology Stars of the Future Showcase and Awards Ceremony on March 7 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Last year, Hernandez was a national runner up and Southern California winner.

”When I found out that I won I was encouraged to do more,” Hernandez said last year, according to a LAUSD press release. “I am now determined to encourage more girls to do their best in these fields and let them know that this award and more is available to them.”

Teachers group performance: Galatzan = Marie Antoinette

A group calling itself Teacher Theater Street Parody of LAUSD held a performance in the parking lot in front of the Elks Lodge in Canoga Park before the District 3 school board candidate forum Tuesday. The teachers union, UTLA, has not endorsed a candidate in the race, but is clearly no fan of incumbent Tamar Galatzan, as it chose to share a photo and info about the performance on its Facebook page.

The photo shows “Queen Tamar Antoinette” in full regalia and two men dressed as FBI agents. One performer is holding a sign that reads “Let them eat iPads.”

The artistic statement, while perhaps bold and creative, has questionable levels of fairness and maturity, as the target or targets of a grand jury investigation — which led FBI agents to seize files in December related to the district’s iPad program — are unknown and appear to be aimed more at the district administration and not the school board. No one has been arrested as a result of the investigation. But Galatzan remains a strong supporter of the controversial program.

It is also important to note — these are teachers, after all — that historians say the phrase “Let them eat cake” was unfairly and incorrectly attributed to Antoinette by her enemies in an effort to discredit her with the French public. Hmm.

This is simply the latest of political attacks, including one leveled at board member Bennett Kayser that compared him to a ruthless movie villain gangster, that uses questionable levels of fairness and taste.

The post is embedded below.

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