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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Reasoned School Reform

Those arguing in favor of transferring LAUSD control to the mayor, or splitting the district up, may instead want to consider the empirical evidence from an approach used in Kansas City schools. The high school graduation rate was 48% before they adopted the approach, and 81% afterwards. They call it "learning communities," and the LAUSD is already implementing it here under the name "small learning centers." As explained in an L.A. Times article today, the program divides the students in a given school into several "small groups" (e.g., 325); focuses the study within each group on a given theme (e.g., business, health careers), and gets parents involved. Doesn't it seem more credible that changes like that will work better than putting the mayor in control?


Anonymous Anonymous said:

Great, Walter!

Antonio doesn't really intend to take over LAUSD: Between UTLA, CTA, and their spheres of influence in Sacramento, it's politically un-doable.

Antonion just wants to grandstand with the effort -- and use compromise reforms to throw money and contracts to future political donors.

This is just one step on the road to Governor, for AV.

Which is why he's dancing with Arnold right now in photo ops: If Arnold is reelected, it gets AV to Sacramento four years faster.

May 20, 2006 8:35 AM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

I think you've got something there. Your theory makes sense, and fits all the data. This guy doesn't plan to be around if and when the mayoral take-over ever happens. Rather, as you point out, this gives him the opportunity to show his deep concern "for the children." Thanks for taking the analysis to the next level.

May 20, 2006 9:31 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

It's not analysis, Walter, it's speculation. If you really want to smack Antonio around, you should be rooting for him to succeed in taking over LAUSD. Then you can truly hold him accountable like he says he wants to be.

May 20, 2006 10:14 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Schools have been implementing "Learning Communities" in colleges. Check them out...

now, who stole this idea from researchers?

May 20, 2006 1:10 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

You stole my analysis again!

May 20, 2006 1:11 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Antonio does want control of LAUSD

It's all a sham!

May 20, 2006 1:12 PM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

Actually, I'm less interested in "smacking Antonio around" than in trying to figure out the best public policy. Don't get me wrong: I enjoy smacking around as much as the next guy. But I'd also like to have an informed opinion about how best to reform the schools.

May 20, 2006 2:02 PM  

Blogger dgarzila said:

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

May 20, 2006 2:42 PM  

Blogger dgarzila said:

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

May 20, 2006 2:46 PM  

Blogger dgarzila said:

pictures of southcentral farmers confronting Jan Perry at her office on the 4th floor of city hall at

if it isn't the first thing you see just keep scrolling down.


May 20, 2006 2:49 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Well, Walter, how about getting rid of the factor that is dumbing down the rest of the kids?

One of the effects of the demonstrations has been to call attention to the fact that they are overburdening our entire infrastructure, and that includes the schools, the emergency rooms, police, fire, welfare, etc.

Ultimately, the white backlash will move to end this in some way.

Right now, "earned" citizenship track, but going to the end of the line, is the administration policy.

Illegals should jump at this, because the hard core conservatives just want everyone out and employers to face jail for employing illegals. It is an idea that is catching on and growing with each "strike" and demonstration.

When the jobs dry up, everyone will head for home.

This whole movement of "Amnestia Ahora" has been a huge mistake for the illegals, who are now the center of a debate they cannot win.

Even their legal brothers and cousins are sick of them, and so are the blacks.

It was poorly thought out and will result in a disaster for all of them.

They are indeed, writing their own eviction notices.

May 20, 2006 2:50 PM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

Mass illegal immigration is indeed the root of the problem at our schools. Assuming, however, that mass deportation is not in the cards, we better come up with a solution. If these kids are here to stay, I'd like them to be well educated....

May 20, 2006 3:04 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Actually, I don't think Villaraigosa wants control of the schools at all. I think his money machines for his next race, Riordan and Broad want control of the schools and Villaraigosa has no choice if he wants their money.

May 20, 2006 5:46 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Walter, while the Kansas City experiment has been successful, you yourself have just pointed out while you can't use it as a possible solution here. Kansas City doesn't have the hispanic, non-English speaking population in their schools we do. And when it comes to anything that requires parents getting involved, you can't use it as a solution in LA schools because of the illegal parents. It's just not realistic to expect them to get involved when they don't speak the language and are often at an educational level below that of their child. A rotten situation for all involved and certainly in need of a bold solution. I just have no idea what that solution is.

In the meantime, I was just reading in LA Business Journal a few weeks back that companies in So Cal complain they can't get good employees here because they're not adequately educated. Which could mean the education systems suck, or it could mean they are "uneducatable". Either way it doesn't bode well for the economic prospects of the local businesses or the local citizenry.

Another reason I'm tired to tears of the latino left's refusal to acknowledge the problem illegals continue to pose to California and the US.

May 20, 2006 7:50 PM  

Blogger dgarzila said:

Wake up folks , it is the cost of living here.

Stop quoting the Los Angeles Business JOurnal . They are aren't going to tell you that people with great skills can't afford a 2500 dollar loft , or a 1500 dollar one bedroom apartment.

These people might have great skills , but in southern california you are not allowed to start out at the bottom in low cost housng because that is far and few in between.

There are plenty of white folks who wouldn't mind moving from KAnsas to come to Los angeles to work .

Get with the real reasons for the lack of skilled labor . And then you have all of the youth of Los Angeles being told by Steve Lopez of the LA Times they don't need to have any high expectations that they don't need algebra etc.

If you look at the adult occupational Centers where youth also attend you will see this is sort of implemented there where the cirriculum is geared around a certain topic.

It will work in SOutehrn California , but people beleive teh brivel that Steve Lopez and others pump out to the public that even in these instances LAtino kids can't even learn in those environments.

When I was in High School I spoke english , but in order to take the advanced classes with weighted grades , I also had to learn a different language and vocabulary to keep up .

So why should we teach our kids glossary and vocabulary terms in order to learn in an advanced placement Biology or Chemistry class , we should take those kids out of classes and put them in classes that teach them english in order to move on. Sorry , but I do agree that students who can't keep up should be separated out of those classes so that those who don't speak english do not become a hindrance to the leanring environment.

Smaller environments where the kids are multilingual or bi-lingula would actuall help those students because the students that speak both english and spanish can help those who only speak spanish .

I think it would work here.

May 20, 2006 8:14 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Dzargila - I don't even know what the hell your first paragraph means. First of all, there are a LOT of places to live in LA that don't cost 2500/mo. or even 1500/mo. I know. I'm living in one that costs considerably less and I moved in at a point I'd been unemployed for over a year due to the recession. But what the hell does that have to do with uneducated illegals anyway????Second, the LA Business Journal isn't the only place I hear about the lack of an intelligent labor pool - it's repeated at most business association meetings, workforce conferences and on & on. Third, I don't know what high school required you to take advance classes in another language - I've never heard of such a thing & frankly find it hard to believe.

Lastly, why do you use the term "bilingual" when you really mean Spanish as that second language. I'm bilingual but MY second language is Japanese. For the record, my heritage is 100% Irish so no, I didn't learn my 2nd language at home.

I'm all in favor of pulling out students who don't speak English but I'm not in favor of paying for them. I'm tired of paying for them. After reading yet another round of complaints from Mexico in the paper today, all about how the horrible Americans are going to bankrupt their economy if we stop hiring illegals, I'm done paying for Mexico's problems. If our government had any actual balls, they'd send a bill to Mexico for the cost to OUR economy.

May 20, 2006 9:55 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Incredible, the District is paying a law firm of its former advisor to Roy Romer (Glenn Gritzner) to advise the district at $20K a month. Yes, the law firm of Sonnenschein, Nath and Rosenthal is advising the District. And, Glenn works on this matter. Diguisting.

May 20, 2006 10:12 PM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

Very good point about the language issue here vs. Kansas City. Comparing L.A. to anywhere else is the proverbial apples and oranges.

Query whether there is any school system anywhere in the world, throughout history, that has tried to absorb a massive influx of children from another country with another language.

Maybe we need to be looking not at school systems in general, but at the fastest way to teach people a language. Berlitz comes to mind. . . .

May 20, 2006 10:46 PM  

Blogger dgarzila said:

Let me clarify this all . I was in a hurry when I wrote this.

When you go to school . You are given lists of glossary and dictionary terms to look up and are tested on them. In essence you are learning another language. In order to keep up in the learning environment you must have the basic knowledge of the vocabulary of whatever course you are studying at the time.

In Chemistry you are taught the periodic table : certain words and terms . In math it is the same thing , and in biology you are also taught the basic structures of the cell and move on to more advanced vocabulary and concepts such as the krebs cycle, DNA , etc. If you can't learn the new language in these courses you can't advance to further concepts in the courses. That is what the tests measure : the ability to understand the basics of these things which were learned . INcluding a vocabulary. In English courses ,which I did very well in ,I learned grammar etc, unfortunatley the part of my brain which was damaged had this part . One reason my writing sucks. But the basic concepts in chemistry and biology have stuck to this day. I can tell you how an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase works but I can't tell you how to properly use present participles.

And actually I did go to a high school where you were required to take one language before you graduate. If you go to their website you will see now, it takes passing calculus. When Geometry and Algebra were sufficient when I attended.

Now as far as english as a second language , etc. What I am saying is , if you don't have a good grasp of the basic english lnaguage ... How are you going to learn the languages which are taught in these other fields of knowledge- their special language? If the teacher is teaching you in English and you can't understand that , you can't or will have a very tough time learning the concept of a linear equation , or what a hypotenuse of a triangle is , or even the concept of how to measure density of an object. That one is simple . Or even how a bacteria works or how to kill one.(most bacteria have a cell wall and can be killed by penetrating this cell wall, , but their is a group of microorganisms called mycoplasma which do not have cell wals and actually live inside the cell and live off of the stuff the nucleus depends on for sustenance ) Hmm...HIgh school education . No I got a GED because I couldn't work and go to school at the same time. But I am well more educated and know many people with a ged , if reading all this mess about LAUSD students not able to pass tests is accurate , that can academically kcik the butt of these LAUSD diploma holders and would compete in the workforce and advance whereas the LAUSD diploma holder is eating their dust

Everyone is caught with this idea that a HIgh School diploma is all that is needed. If you can't read well , write well , and be able to read and follow directions or even pass tests , this tells me a lot about you. And with these lawsuits over these tests which measure someones mastery of certain skills . I can tell you right now this is the easy way out.
Now as far as kids who can't speak english. Like I have said these kids need to be removed from the school setting and given the knowledge and mastery of this language . Or if not we may have to go to teaching kids in one language vs. teaching them in english. Again we will be paying for this . Hey I earned my diability. I went to foreign land and put my life on the line so don't tell me I ain't paid my fair share.

Why should someone interfere with the improvement of the intellectual ability of another. These kids have to grow up to compete in the work force. And if we continue to hinder those who can advance and hold them back because those who have english as a second language and aren't able to compete in that class setting ? We do both those who have english as a first language and english as a second language a disservice.

Plus I am concerned because we need doctors , and scientists , and chemists ,and biologists. We don't need tons of writers.Well , we do need them to be able to communicate with us when they find a cure for something . Of course Steve Lopez beleives this is what we need, nothing but people with common sense without the knowledge to implement- you need both, and he can go screw himself for all I care.

I can honestly gurantee you, that if you take these kids that have a hard time with the english language out of schools , the students will continue to suffer because of the low expectations. This is the problem the setting which allows for low expectations.

But there is another major problem. The LAUSD has taken out ART and Music out of the schools. This may also be a big problem. This is what I have heard . That the funding for art and music was reduces in the schools. That was a big no , no. Art and music have a very big impact on the ability to learn.

I would prefer somone with a GED over an LAUSD graduate because a GED has strict guidelines on measuring the knowledge these kids have learned as opposed to a HIgh School Diploma which has no real measurement of the persons ability at mastering basic concepts of mathematics , such as fractions , reading and writing ,and unserstanding ,etc. Or their ability to have basic enough mastery to be able to build on in the workplace.

I think in Los Angeles we are churning out adults who are being taught that if you can't pass a test , just hire an attorney so you don't have to take it/

What the hell is the BAR for then? SHould those who can't pass the bar sue the BAR and then be allowed to pass?

Just asking?

Now as far as the cost of living . I know you are paying quite less. But the cost of living and housing here is horrible.

Why should skilled workers have to live like slaves and hobos . That is why they don't come , that is whay we don't have enough of them.

It is the cost of housing and other things in this CIty of ours.
You can't convince me otherwise.

May 21, 2006 2:01 AM  

Blogger dgarzila said:

You were right you don't have to take aforeign language .but since I was taking the level III route in high school I had to take it.

Boy if I had only know what I know now . I could have tested out of HIgh School and gotten my high school diploma and gotten my damn scholarship instead of the wahp to the head in freaking war somehwere.

oh and another thing being a very young conservative texas republican I also wasn't aware that I could have gone on welfare because I was still in school and could have finished my senior year instead of giving up and joining the corps

Oh well!!!


PDF version.

Wow I can't believe some of he requriements are still the same .

May 21, 2006 5:43 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Roughly 10 percent of Mexico's population of about 107 million is now living in the United States, estimates show. About 15 percent of Mexico's labor force is working in the United States. One in every 7 Mexican workers migrates to the United States.


May 21, 2006 7:54 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Dzargila, thank you for clarifying especially about the language requirement of your high school. Your initial post seemed to say you had to use a second language IN your other classes. My school, like yours, did require taking a language in order to graduate from the accelerated college-prep program.

Also, as I said previously, I don't disagree about separating the non-English speaking kids and placing them in other classes or groups. Believe it or not, that's the way it worked at my school MANY years ago before someone sued for "discrimination". It worked VERY well. At least 70% of the freshman who were in English as a 2nd language classes were able to mainstream by junior year, at least in my time at that school.

I do disagree on one of your points - while agreeing we need more science/math proficient students. Writing is essential no matter what professional career you choose. Not "creative" writing, of course, but basic sentence structure, grammar etc. I can't think of a doctor or a scientist who doesn't need to turn in a paper on their work at some point.

So basically, we both agree non-English speaking students present one of the biggest problems in our schools. If only our legislators could stop being so politically correct and admit this is a huge problem, we might get somewhere. But anytime the language issue is brought up, cries of "racism" drown out the dialogue. But the fact is that the most recent study of California's school population came up with an estimage which says that at least 58% of public school students, K-12, speak little to no English. That's a considerable amount of kids to have to put into a separate learning system - and an incredible expense.

I'm with Walter Moore - I'd like to know of any city/state/country who has had to take on such a burden and how they handled it.

May 21, 2006 12:47 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Walter, the "AV as Governor" idea has been discussed in Democratic circles since he took office. People have been placing bets on how much, or how little, help AV would be to EITHER Dem candidate.

Another conspiracy theory says Fabian Nunez purposely torpedoed the recent infrastructure bond talks until after the June ballot deadline. Put before the voters in June it would have had no gov's race attached. By putting it off til November, everyone knew there was a great chance Arnold could spin it to the voters as his idea, and ensure him a victory. The theory is that Nunez wanted just that to happen - Arnold wins and AV gets a shot in 4 years. If Arnold loses, AV would have to go up against an incumbent Dem in 4 years - not a pretty picture.

I personally love this theory, probably because I hate Nunez and AV, but I wonder if any of your readers have heard it and what they think?

May 21, 2006 1:01 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

As a newcomer to this blog, I feel like I just discovered gold. A place to actually vent my feelings of extreme outrage over the election of the person in the mayor's office.

I am representative of a long line of Angelenos residing here for generations, and I can tell you...I am not the only one. You can cut the hostility with a knife. We are polarized and want a change of leadership.

This is not Mexico, although you would never know it. Culture follows race, and we have imported 10M illegals in LA alone. These are the mestizos who are even unwanted by Mexico. We are importing nothing but crime, poverty, illiteracy, itineracy, and uneducatable peasants.

It has got to stop and they have to go back. Americans won't take it any more and the reconquistas better understand this. They have NO rights in the country. None. Nada! I believe in treating them just like Mexico treats foreigners. And if you don't know how that is...read the Mexican Constitution. You will be shocked.

We are not fools and we are getting angry. Very angry.

Thank you....I feel better now.

May 21, 2006 3:54 PM  

Blogger dgarzila said:

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

May 21, 2006 7:02 PM  

Blogger dgarzila said:

The Students graduating should be well rounded. Which also means being able to communicate on papaer and write well.

I am not disagreeing there.

But if you actually think Steve Lopez's writing is creative , then we are going to have to agree.

It is well known he is a fiction writer , thus I can understand the reason for the fiction and caricatures and sterotypes he created of African Americans who reside in Skid Row.

I live here and I gotta tell you . There are very intelligent people living here.

And a reminder , Nathaniel Ayers did not live in Skid Row when Steve Lopez met him , he was living under bunker hill ,in the best part of Downtown.

May 21, 2006 7:06 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Welcome 3:54

Unfortunately I doubt you simply stumbled onto this blog. I get the feeling your buddy Walter invited you.


Have fun anway.

May 21, 2006 11:58 PM  

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