The Vergara public relations campaign came to Pomona College this week, restating its case but leaving its goals cloudy.
The iPad story in Los Angeles grows, as we had predicted. On Tuesday, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy sent the school board a six-page memo defending his actions. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times called for greater transparency, for the release of the district inspector general's reports, and for a new investigation.
The story of how the Los Angeles Unified School District contracted for iPads and software with Apple and Pearson is not going away. Calls for investigation continue along with public questions about whether Superintendent John Deasy can, or should, survive this issue and others. But the important issue is not the contract; it's the strategy behind it.
The ink was hardly dry on the judge's final ruling before California Gov. Jerry Brown filed an appeal of the Vergara ruling that struck down statutory job protections for teachers. Attorney General Kamala Harris filed the appeal Friday.
Judge Rolf Treu has issued his final judgment in the case of Beatriz Vergara v. the State of California affirming his tentative decision that five state statutes regarding tenure and teacher employment violate the state's constitution. The appeals process now begins. The state and the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers have 60 days to decide whether to appeal. It is expected that they will.
After disclosures of possible improprieties in the negotiation and letting of contracts, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy has halted purchases of Apple iPads under a $30-million contract that was to be the first round of a $1-billion program. Now that the district has hit the reset button on the troubled program, it's time to learn from experience. The real lesson here isn't about iPads; it's about managing through contract.
The English Language Learner lawsuit ruled upon August 12 by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant probably won't grab the attention of Silicon Valley billionaires the way the Vergara suit has, but it's still a big deal. EL students make up about a quarter of the state's student population, and it's important to understand who they are.
Everyone's talking about Vergara but now there's another lawsuit rattling the California education system, this one involving English Language Learners. On August 3, a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge ruled that ELs were being denied an adequate education. The remedies sought could reshape how language learners are monitored.
Teacher-led schools are often defined by what they don't have: a conventional administrator. At the Mission Hill School in Boston, the subject of a PBS Newshour report on Monday, the school as a whole makes decisions and the principal doesn't even have a proper office. Though still rare, these schools carry valuable lessons about how to expand responsibility and authority for teachers. Yet, the real payoff occurs in how students step up and take responsibility for their own learning.
Last week's election in Los Angeles settled—at least for a few months—the question of who is going to be "on the bus" at L.A. Unified. So, as the school district welcomes George McKenna to the horseshoe shaped board table, let's talk about the process of building a new bus. For the last 30 years, at least, reformers have tried to reinvent public schooling in the City of Angels. None has succeeded, and virtually all their plans have been built around the same four elements. But their implementation has tended to get things backward.