Yesterday, the LA Times reported that LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy has set aside $20 million for parent centers. Mind you, parents are an essential part of the mix–I’d argue the most important part. But $20 million for rooms on campuses just irks me to no end. No money is being set aside to staff these rooms–not that I’d want a dime going in that direction. The district is still losing teachers, and has horrible class size ratios, and they’re setting up rooms where parents can take knitting classes or parenting classes. Even with the wonky way that LAUSD charges for classroom positions, $20 million would provide for quite a few teachers. Conveniently though, this money is coming from construction bonds. So how about some construction related help–like fixing the A/C at schools or modernizing classrooms? While in some schools, parent centers provide great resources to parents in need of health services or other programs, it seems as big as the district is, they can keep an updated data base with this information and it should be accessible 24/7 online. And in the same article, they blast so-called “professional parents”–parents who speak during public speaking time at board meetings who no longer have children in the system. I can assure you that I will not be advocating once my daughter graduates, but these same parents they’re lamenting are seasoned veterans of the system, and when I need to know the history on some district issue–they are exactly where I turn.

And finally, with just five days left until the last bell of the year, let me just let out a sigh of relief. I’m actually sad to see this one end. This year has been infinitely easier than the year past. My daughter has a wonderful teacher who understands the needs of gifted kids without the need to pile on so much homework that family life is compromised. And as the district tries to ramp up to Early Start for all schools, can I please ask that they consider placing all furlough days at the END of the calendar year? When they postponed the early start calendar a year from the 2011-12 calendar, it seemed a no brainer that they’d transition families to the new calendar by starting the last couple of days in August, instead of cutting their summer in half. Instead, we’re still starting on September 7, and ending June 25, which leaves so little time for a real summer. And yes, I understand some families have child care issues, and some kids lose what they learn during the summer, but for a family that spends a large chunk of the summer discovering the city that we live near (since we don’t actually call Los Angeles home), it compromises her enrichment. And for those who love early start and all that comes with it, I’ll save that rant for another day. It’s a Band-Aid fix at best, and I’m not a fan.

 

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