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Morning Read: The Powers That Be

Hillel Aron | August 20, 2012

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• Adelanto parents lose charter school bid: On Friday, the Adelanto School Board rejected the petition by parents of Desert Trails Elementary (site of the recent parent trigger ruling) to convert their school into a charter, saying there wasn’t enough time to implement before the school year. The board voted, instead, to install a “community advisory council” composed of teachers, parents, administrators and community members. The council will supervise reforms and report directly to, you guessed it, the superintendent and the school board. Parent Revolution says the vote violates the judge’s recent ruling. LA Times

• California Teachers Association, a powerful force in Sacramento: The LA Times goes long on the power and influence of the CTA:

The union views itself as “the co-equal fourth branch of government,” said Oakland Democrat Don Perata, a former teacher who crossed swords with the group when he was state Senate leader.

The article is highly recommended. LA Times

• Charter school group’s chief blamed for 2010 cheating scandal: Two separate investigations have concluded that John Allen, founder and head of Crescendo schools, asked principals and teachers to show students the state standardized tests before taking them. The Times calls it “one of the most brazen cheating scandals in the nation.” LA Times

• Mayor hopes his Partnership for Schools survives his exit from office: Antonio Villaraigosa’s tenure as mayor is almost at a close, just as his set of schools ends its first five-year term. He hopes the schools will be made permanent, and be overseen by the next Mayor. UTLA President Warren Fletcher isn’t so sure. Daily News

• Teachers on the defensive: A Frank Bruni column in the New York Times focusing on school reform and the upcoming film, “Won’t Back Down,” is mediocre but redeems itself with two good quotes, the first by Mayor Villaraigosa about the unions: “The notion that seniority drives every decision — assignments, promotions, layoffs — is unsustainable.” The second is by AFT President Randi Weingarten about the recent antipathy towards teachers unions: “We bear a lot of responsibility for this… We were focused — as unions are — on fairness and not as much on quality.” New York Times

• How to keep good teachers from leaving: Grand View Elementary teacher Sujata Bhatt writes, in an LA Times op-ed, that good teachers need to be brought into leadership roles within schools in order to get them to stay. The Times neglects to disclose that Bhatt is on the design team for Steve Barr’s new group of pilot schools, which aims to do just what Bhatt is advocating. LA Times

Long Beach charter could close after “fun” curriculum leads to lackluster test scores: Note that the fun is in quotes. KPCC

• Alahambra Unified helps students make a fresh start: A nice profile on the “Fresh Start” program, a three-hour-a-day summer course that prepares students for high school. KPCC

• LAUSD truancy-diversion program keeps violators out of the courts: A new program will, according to Barbara Jones, “shift the focus from punishing troubled students to resolving the problems that result in them frequently skipping school.” Daily News

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