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  • Tuesday, February 28, 2006

     

    SPECIAL REPORT


    MARCH is…MUSIC AWARENESS MONTH and
    California Arts Education Month

    The Music For All Foundation is again promoting March as national Music Awareness Month. For more information on Music For All Foundation Wear Blue Campaign CLICK ON: http://music-for-all.org/wearblue.html or for information on the Foundation http://music-for-all.org/about.html .

    The Music For All Foundation site has posted a report on how in response to the No Child Left Behind Act (which holds school districts accountable for improving student achievement in mathematics and reading/language arts) many school districts have increased resources on core subjects, as well as the mandatory amount of time on reading and math, while at the same time 20% of school districts report reductions in both time and resources to music and arts.
    To view the March 2005 Center on Education Policy Report just CLICK ON:
    http://music-for-all.org/WME/documents/CEPPB3web.pdf.

    Many challenges continue to exist for arts education in California. In the recently released state budget, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger includes an historic augmentation for visual and performing arts instruction in California schools. The California Assembly of Local Arts Agencies has made it easy to contact your state representatives to show your support of the art budget with their California Arts Action Center website. All you need is your ZIP CODE for this one stop email action center. To take action and get involved (on either side of the issue) CLICK ON: http://capwiz.com/artsusa/ca/state/main/?state=CA

    The California State PTA and California Alliance for Arts Education also are coordinating a statewide campaign to bring elected officials into our schools to witness the power of learning in the arts during the month of March.
    For more information on the California PTA SMArts Effort CLICK ON:
    http://www.capta.org/sections/programs-smarts/index.cfm

    March marks the second month of the American Federation of Teachers’ kick-off campaign to “fix” widespread perceived problems with No Child Left Behind in its Let’s Get it Right Campaign. Although NCLB reauthorization is not scheduled until 2007, the AFT is focusing on it now to make sure that the problems are documented and dealt with. The NCLB dedicated site features the NCLB Sing-A-Long featuring cartoon characters, an e-petition, and a NCLB blog to document problems. The 15 second sing-along cartoon ends with a character blowing a sour note out of his horn and another declaring “They must of cut music!” Viewers are then invited to click on a screen to take action which leads them to a petition.

    NCLB SING-A-LONG CLICK ON:
    http://www.letsgetitright.org/cartoon/
    NCLB AFT BLOG CLICK ON:
    http://www.letsgetitright.org/blog/

    Sunday, February 26, 2006

     

    THE HEDGEHOG DIGEST


    In this exclusive Orange Net News investigative news series THE Hedgehog Digest, ONN will examine the Jim Collins “Good to Great” framework for both business and the social sector with a focus on how OUSD fits into the model. Is Good to Great a formula to once again making OUSD the premier district in Orange County as it once was in the 1950’s and 1960’s? Or is Good to Great just another slogan on a pen in the education “fad”- industry were “one day you’re in, the next day you’re out”? Will Good to Great be a feasible educational framework, or another distraction that will side-track OUSD administrators from the very real work at hand? Orange Net News’ special series, THE HEDGEHOG DIGEST, will explore slogan to framework of Godley’s attempt of “Taking OUSD from Good to Great”.

    Hedgehog Digest
    PART II: THE GREATEST FRAMEWORK ON EARTH?


    Orange Unified School District has bought pens and distributed them to administrators with the slogan “Taking OUSD From Good to Great” and best selling Jim Collins’ book can be found throughout the district. Building principals devote valuable meeting times to Good to Great study sessions. OUSD Superintendent Thomas Godley has embraced the language and framework of Jim Collins’ best selling book for the Orange Unified School District. As Superintendent Godley devotes scarce educational resources to pursue the Collins framework for OUSD, Collins himself writes that it will take 10 years of research to know if the framework is applicable to social sector organizations like OUSD.

    In his 320 page book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t (Harper-Business, 2001), management guru Jim Collins writes about his premise that “Good is the enemy of great”. In the book he offers a framework he developed after studying how companies accomplished his definition of “great”. For five years Collins’ research laboratory investigated companies’ public records going back 40 years. Beginning with 1435 companies, Collins came up with two groups of 11 companies, one group representing his criteria of good to great, and the other companies that fell short of his criteria.

    The Collins investigation was formulated to answer the question: “Can a good company become a great one, and if so, how?” To answer the question Collins had to define great. Based on economic success, Collins defined great as:

    1. A history of cumulative stock returns equal to or below the general stock market
    2. Followed by a “breakthrough” point
    3. Leading to performance with cumulative profit returns at least three times the general market over fifteen years following their breakthrough point


    Using this economic performance definition of “great”, Collins and his team developed a framework of variables. Collin’s identified these eleven “elite” good- to- great companies as meeting his criteria: Abbott; Fannie Mae; Kimberly-Clark; Nucor; Pitney-Bowes; Wells Fargo; Circuit City; Gillette; Kroger; Phillip Morris; and Walgreens.

    Since the 2001 printing, some of the “Great” have had their problems. It has recently become clear that in the age of Enron-like-accounting-tricks and the collapse of Enron’s veteran accounting firm Arthur Andersen Accounting, even “great” can be faked. This month, a member of the elite Collin’s group Fannie Mae has been racked by an $11 billion dollar improper accounting scandal involving top executives receiving multimillion dollar bonuses that involved the chief financial officer and company controller. Another Collin’s “great”, grocery giant Kroger, has faced economic problems from numerous grocery strikes since the book was published in 2001. To add to Kroger’s economic woes, in December of 2005 a federal grand jury returned an indictment against Kroger’s wholly owned California subsidiary Ralph’s Markets. Collins’ economic criteria gave the “great” title to Phillip Morris, a company that deals in very profitable products that unfortunately kill its customers- tobacco. Even as U.S. tobacco sales decline, Phillip Morris (that realizes over 70% of its profits from tobacco) has expanded its overseas markets especially into little regulated third world counties were advertising to new customers (i.e. children) is much easier than in the U.S. In addition, because of the numerous high profile tobacco lawsuits in the U.S brought and won against big tobacco and the image problem associated with big tobacco in the U.S., Phillip Morris changed its corporate name to shed the baggage of the big bad tobacco company to Altria.

    The Good-to-Great Framework
    Collins Good-to-Great Framework is divided into three areas: Disciplined People; Disciplined Thoughts; Disciplined Action. The Primary Concepts in each of the three areas are:
    • Disciplined People: Level 5 Leadership and First Who…Then What
    • Disciplined Thoughts: Confront the Brutal Facts and The Hedgehog Concept
    • Disciplined Action: A Culture of Discipline and Technology Acceleration


    Collins explains his framework: “every primary concept in the final framework showed up as a change variable in 100% of the good-to-great companies and less than 30% of the comparison companies during the pivotal years”.

    In the initial buzz about the Collin’s book as it climbed to best-seller status and quickly became the latest fad-surfing boardroom talk. Soon, social sector leaders looked to it for greatness too. However, because the book’s “greatness” criteria are based on economic performance, its concepts did not transfer neatly to social sector organizations (like school districts). To address this, in 2005 Collins came out with a 35 page monograph to accompany his best seller called “Why Business Thinking is Not the Answer: Good to Great and the Social Sectors” (Collins, 2005). In it Collin’s writes “I do not consider myself to be an expert on social sectors…” but characterizes himself an eager student. While Collin’s writes in the monograph that his good-to-great principles “do indeed apply to the social sectors”, he concedes he lacks hard evidence. He writes that all his work on the social sectors is based on “critical feedback, structured interviews and laboratory work with more than 100 social sector leaders”. Collins writes that research “done right” in applying good-to-great to social sectors for the hard evidence will “require up to a decade to complete”. In the meantime, he is offering the monogram “as a small step”. In the Social Sectors Monogram, Collins synthesized his framework into five issues:

    1. Defining “Great” – Calibrating Success without Business Metrics
    2. Level 5 Leadership- Getting things done with a defuse power structure
    3. First Who- Getting the right people on the bus within Social Sector constraints
    4. Hedgehog Concept- rethink the Economic Engine without a profit motive
    5. Turing the flywheel- Building momentum by building the brand


    As Orange Unified pursues the Collins’ view of greatness through the Good to Great framework, it is not clear if OUSD leadership has distinguished between the business and the social sector frameworks. Apparently, OUSD Superintendent Godley is enough of a believer that he feels OUSD will be the first school district able to apply the theoretical concepts and move from “good to great” even as OUSD cuts student centered programs. Godley is apparently ready to devote scarce educational time, effort, and resources to a theory that even the author writes will take ten years of research to see if it applies to social sector organizations. Will OUSD wait 10 years to see Godley can lead it to greatness?

    END of Part 2
    TO READ PART ONE Good to Great: Good Slogan or Great Framework CLICK ON: http://greaterorange.blogspot.com/2006/02/hedgehog-digest.html


    FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE FOLLOWING CLICK ON THE BLUE LINK:

    Fannie Mae Accounting Scandal: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060223/ap_on_bi_ge/fannie_mae
    Ralphs’ Federal Indictment: http://www.ralphs.com/localpressreleases/Indictment.htm
    Kroger profits down since strike: http://www.bizjournals.com/losangeles/stories/2004/06/21/daily12.html
    Phillip Morris Name Change: http://www.infact.org/ajph403.html

    WATCH FOR PART 3 of
    THE HEDGEHOG DIGEST
    An original news analysis report from
    Orange Net News /O/N/N/

    Thursday, February 23, 2006

     

    Metro TALK





    MUSIC MATTERS COMMITTEE
    Begins planning to Save OUSD MUSIC


    A committee of concerned citizens in the Orange Unified School District called the Music Matters Committee (MMC) has announced that they have hired Dr. John Benham, a Music Advocacy Expert from SupportMusic.Com. Starting next month, the MMC is planning a series of meetings with Dr. Benham and the community to help develop a report and findings on how to reinstate the music program in Orange Unified. The MMC will also be working with Yamaha Cares to plan a Music Appreciation community meeting.

    The bold move in hiring Benham is seen as a serious step in saving OUSD elementary music by the community music activists. Benham, the former CSU Fullerton Instrumental Music Coordinator, is currently president of the St. Paul, MN based non-profit Music in World Cultures, Inc. as well as Director of Graduate Studies in Music at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is also recognized as the foremost expert in saving and restoring school music programs. He is credited with saving over $62 million in budgetary reductions in music throughout the United States and Canada. His successes have resulted in the restoration of over 1500 teaching positions, and the continuation of music opportunities for over 300,000 students. A budget expert, he is author of the manuscript "How to Save Your School Music Program - A Handbook for the Music Advocate".

    For more information on SupportMusic.com CLICK ON:
    http://www.supportmusic.com/

    For more information on Yamaha Cares CLICK ON:
    http://www.yamaha.com/yamahacares/index.asp

    PTA OFFERS HIGH SCHOOL EXIT EXAM INFORMATION MEETING
    Parents who are as nervous and confused as some of California’s high school students about the California High School Exit Exam (commonly known by its ludicrous acronym “CaHSSE”) can attend an informational presentation on the required California test on Monday February 27th. The presentation is sponsored by the Fourth District PTA. The presentation will be presented by Dr. Stephanie Schneider, the Coordinator of Assessment and Accountability for the Orange County Department of Education. The presentation will touch on the most common areas of confusion about the Exit Exam. A simultaneous Spanish translation will be provided. The meeting is open to all parents and id encouraged for those with middle or high school students. The meeting will take place on Monday February 27th at Columbus Middle School in Tustin at 7:00 p.m.

    Columbus Middle School is located at 17952 Beneta Way,Tustin CA 92780.
    For a map to the school from MAPQUEST CLICK ON:
    http://www.mapquest.com/maps/map.adp?latlongtype=internal&addtohistory=&latitude=CsXEcLIaMY4%3d&longitude=%2fzVHQN4KnpUcuQy7ARZAew%3d%3d&name=Columbus%20Tustin%20Middle%20School&country=US&address=17952%20Beneta%20Way&city=Tustin&state=CA&zipcode=92780&phone=714%2d730%2d7352&spurl=0&&q=columbus%20middle%20school&qc=Schools%20%28K%2d12%29

    For More information on the PTA sponsored meeting CLICK ON:
    http://www.fourthdistrictpta.org/forms/CASHEE_CONFERENCE.pdf


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    Wednesday, February 22, 2006

     

    Orange Unified Schools DIGEST


    The day the music died in OUSD

    ELEMENTARY MUSIC PROGRAM TO END

    At the Thursday February 23rd Orange Unified School District is scheduled to vote on a resolution (Agenda Item 12 D page 21) to continue its plan to discontinue the elementary itinerate music program after this year. Last year the OUSD Board voted to end the elementary school music program after this year and this week’s resolution permits the layoff of temporary music teachers. Three elementary music teachers hold tenure and could in theory move to a secondary school music program to replace temporary teachers at that level.

    Since last February, speakers from the community have routinely addressed the OUSD Board in favor of keeping what is left of the elementary music program. At the February 9th Board Meeting, Orange High School Music Director Mike Short was introduced as the City of Orange Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year. Later in the meeting, Short and a number of high school students and community members addressed the OUSD Trustees to ask them to find a way to keep a separate music program in OUSD’s elementary schools.

    While Board President Kim Nichols advised the community and students to write to their state legislators and the Governor to fund music in California schools, Trustee Kathy Moffat continued to insist that OUSD students will receive music without specialized music teachers from the regular classroom teacher after OUSD cuts the music program. However, on page 34 of the latest issue of the OUSD edition of School News Roll Call (Vol. 1. Issue 3) OUSD Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Cheryl Cohen addresses the issue of instructional minutes in the elementary classrooms. In her article titled Instructional Minutes Cohen writes how classroom teachers make the decisions to maximize the instructional minutes each day. Cohen writes that the flexibility of elementary scheduling allows staff to “spend more time on units with themes of instruction”. Cohen continues “the teacher has the flexibility to do this, knowing she may not get to health or fine arts during this same week of instruction but will instead plan for these content areas in the upcoming weeks in her lesson plans”. Clearly in an era of mandated high stakes testing, music is shortchanged because it is not part of the testing regime. The watchdog group, the Greater Orange Community Organization in a communitywide email about the end of the music program in OUSD blasted “Moffat’s lack of leadership” to save the program as OUSD Board President last year. It stated:

    “…the Moffat Myth about Music Instruction by regular classroom teachers in elementary school is just the latest fairytale from the trustee who knows everything she’s been told.”
    - Greater Orange Community Group email (2/12/06)

    The Agenda Item 12 D on Thursday states the savings to the district after they cancel the elementary music program will be $411,000. The controversial consultant program Focus on Results program has cost taxpayers over 2.2 million dollars over the last four years with no hard evidence to back it up. Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Cohen compared Focus on Results to a “marriage encounter” program and revealed she has a personal consultant “coach” from the program. Cohen also reported that while consultants were cut back last year, the dollars for the program were not. A clear example of the OUSD Trustees not understanding what they are spending taxpayers money on, Trustee Wes Poutsma stated he supports Focus on Results because it is a “reading program” and declared about the controversial program: “We’re a $220 million dollar business; we’re going to spend the money somewhere”. In 2004 under Moffat’s leadership, the OUSD Trustees spent $423,355 on controversial consultant deals and in 2005 another $270,000. In 2005, the OUSD Board spent $730,000 on legal fees with the additional attempt to revoke the Santiago Charter.

    While OUSD like all other Orange County school districts face shrinking student populations that result in decreased funding, OUSD unlike other districts has continued to balance its books with classroom program cuts and not administrator pet projects or cuts in the administrative areas. OUSD continues to rank 4th highest in Orange County administrative costs among the 12 unified county school districts, yet the OUSD administration took no cuts in the California State budget crisis. Instead, Enron-like accounting kept program cuts in the classrooms. As an example, Cohen named the Focus on Results program as a budget cut, then actually shifted the program to be paid with federal funding OUSD receives. In just the second month of 2006 and controversial OUSD administrative travel junkets are up 50% over all of last year’s $7,000 total with more junkets in this week’s agenda (see below). Reportedly, the OUSD administration in current negotiations with the Orange Unified Educators Association want to eliminate class size reductions in 9th grade math and English classes in exchange for keeping music programs. The OUSD administration also is trying to increase elementary class sizes for next year.

    For the report on Music in California schools by MUSIC FOR ALL:
    CLICK ON: http://music-for-all.org/sos.html


    Highlights of the NEXT OUSD BOARD MEETING February 23, 2006
    State of the School Report: Richland C.H.S.
    by Student Representative: Melissa Brown
    Item 12 A- Del Rio Bond/ Mello-Roos Tax District 2nd Reading
    Item 12 B – Future Budget Assumptions-First Reading
    Item 12 C - School Calendars- Fall 2006-2009
    Item 12D- Music Teacher Layoff
    Item 12E- Board Policy Revisions Series 3000 2nd reading
    Item 13B- Legislative Coalition 2006 Platform
    CONSENT AGENDA-
    All items pass without comment unless a Trustee “pulls” for discussion
    Agenda page 43- 46
    Emergency Allowance of Attendance application because of the Sierra Fire

    Administrator Travel page 65-663
    administrators to Texas and Florida conferences $4,050.

    COMMUNITY DONATIONS: ( see page 39-40 for a complete list)
    Orange North Rotary-$1000- Child Care Holiday Party; Rotary Club of Orange-$3000- Science Kits; El Modena Ed Foundation-$11,000 -Supplies /Salary Support; Taft PTA -$3000 -transportation; Sharon Seagate $4000-Santiago books

    Monday, February 20, 2006

     

    TWISTED BADGE UPDATE

    Orange Net News ecasts local interest Twisted Badge stories as a public service. To get the full inside story, back issues or other Twisted Badge information Click On: www.twistedbadge.com .

    February 20, 2006

    By Mike Madigan

    There was a well attended reception at upscale Antonello's Restaurant last week for a veteran homicide prosecutor who recently retired from the Orange County DA's office. Senior Deputy DA Mike Jacobs got a gold badge installed on a beautiful plaque with a message of thanks for 30 years of dedicated service signed by Tony Rackauckas, but the DA did not attend. Jacobs retired on February 3, 2006, adding his name to the drain of talent which appears to be the legacy of the Rackauckas administration. Shortly after taking office, Rackauckas reportedly used county personnel and resources to issue special badges for his key supporters and formed a non profit foundation. The California Attorney General opened an investigation and Jacobs was one of three veteran prosecutors who traveled to Sacramento to meet with AG investigators . In early 2001, Jacobs was fired, the DA claimed, for not reporting his concerns to a supervisor and for talking to the press. He filed a lawsuit and was reinstated with back pay, then spent the remainder of his career shuffling papers in a distant courthouse. He lost a civil lawsuit he filed against Rackauckas, but is appealing that jury verdict. His federal lawsuit is on hold (for more see - www.twistedbadge.com/feature_tonyr_p30.htm). I recently met with Jacobs for an exclusive interview and I'm happy to report that he has no intention of leaving "The OC". This interview will be available soon for download at www.twistedbadge.com.

    END OF PART 20: Things are heating up. Messages may be sent to Mike Jacobs c/o mike@twistedbadge.com. For the inside story, stay tuned to www.twistedbadge.


    If your friends and associates would like to get the inside story, please ask them to sign up at www.twistedbadge.com NOTE - If you wish to send a story and/or documents to TB, our mailing address is PO Box 1021, Lake Forest, CA. 92609. Our 24 hour toll free hotline is (888) 623-4426. We answer all mail and return all calls.

    Wednesday, February 15, 2006

     

    THE HEDGEHOG DIGEST


    PART ONE-
    GOOD TO GREAT: GOOD SLOGAN or GREAT FRAMEWORK?


    It is well documented that educrats (educational bureaucrats) love programs with catchy acronyms (i.e. CAHSEE, STAR, and NCLB) and newly coined words that go beyond traditional meanings (i.e. rigor). Unlike the organized classification system behind the academic language of the academic sciences, the purpose behind the ever-evolving “educational language” appears to be to create an educational elitist mysticism that has helped created a multi-billion dollar industry of educational consultants that siphon off educational tax dollars for the next big thing in educational boondoggles paid for by taxpayers. The taxpayers only line of defense is elected school district trustees, but they too often just rubberstamp the spending requests without researching the programs.

    This state of educational economics mirrors a current popular TV reality show phrase “one day you're in, the next day you're out”. The revolving door of what is fashionably “in” has given way to widespread disillusionment to many seasoned educators as they watch a parade of “in” words, programs, and phases first march in, then march out of educratic favor. These seasoned educators also watch the parade of countless in-service presenters, consultants, administrators, and educrats rush to try to be the first one to utter the next “in” word, phrase, or acronym to establish their educational elitist credentials. Classroom teachers watch this parade while, like in the children’s fable The Emperors New Clothes, the educational courtiers, advisors, and hangers-on tell district administrators, school board members, or principals how wonderful those new clothes look. Meanwhile, the taxpayers continue to pay their educational taxes to the traveling tailors for the magical cloth with the mystical name, until their leaders realize they have been stripped naked and the tailors have long gone to the next unsuspecting kingdom. Then the cycle begins again as the next consultants or in-service presenter arrive with a new magic cloth, with a mystical elitist name, as the educrats demand, the trustees vote to approve, and the taxpayers pay.

    Writer and consultant Eileen Shapiro coined the phrase fad-surfing in her book Fad Surfing in the Boardroom: Reclaiming the Courage to Manage in the Age of Instant Answers to describe a similar phenomena in the business world of the relentless pursuit of taking up and discarding trends in private business based on best selling management books. Recently, educratic fad-surfers have begun to add business models to help them meet their goal to free public education from its agrarian roots. The business model approach (not to be confused with the free market approach of vouchers) has manifested itself in a variety of ways, from creating a “central services” district office, to most commonly just adopting the language of business (students and parents become “shareholders” or “stakeholders” and teachers “curriculum managers”) . Like other past reform fads, the business model approach tries to adapt the round-peg-language of the reform model and pound it into the square-hole of public education, typically changing little in the everyday delivery of classroom instruction.

    A few schooled in the business model approach to education have turned to recent fad management guru Jim Collins and his management research laboratory by trying to apply the concepts of Collins’ 2001 best selling business model book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap, and others Don’t . In various degrees whole school districts like Clifton Public Schools in New Jersey, and individuals like Patrick F. Bassett (President of the National Association of Independent Schools), and former Conejo Valley Unified School District Superintendent Robert Fraisse have all used the round-peg-language of the Collins catchy phrase, Good to Great . Joining the Good to Great Club is Orange Unified School District under the leadership of Superintendent and Secretary to the Board of Education, Thomas A. Godley in his third appointment as a district superintendent.

    OUSD’s Godley has embraced the language of Collins Good to Great framework for the Orange Unified School District. OUSD district staff have “jig sawed” (a different administrator studies and summarizes different chapters) the Collins book by chapters to present in district staff meetings. Some OUSD high school principals are doing the same with their staff, and the district has bought pens and distributed them to administrators with the slogan “Taking OUSD From Good to Great”.

    THE HEDGEHOG DIGEST
    In this exclusive Orange Net News investigative news series The Hedgehog Digest, ONN will examine the Jim Collins Good to Great framework for both business and the social sector with a focus on how OUSD fits into the model. Is Good to Great a formula to once again making OUSD the premier district in Orange County as it once was in the 1950’s and 1960’s? Or is Good to Great just another slogan on a pen in the education “fad”- industry were “one day you're in, the next day you're out”. Will Good to Great be a feasible educational framework, or another distraction that will side-track OUSD administrators from the very real work at hand?
    Orange Net News’ special series The Hedgehog Digest will explore slogan to framework of Godley’s attempt of “Taking OUSD from Good to Great”.


    FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE FOLLOWING CLICK ON THE BLUE LINK:

    Orange Net News investigative news analysis continues with:
    PART II- THE GREATEST FRAMEWORK ON EARTH

    HEDGEHOG DIGEST PART 3

    COMMUNITY UPDATE:FROM GOOD TO GREAT (to failure)

    Fad- surfing : http://www.wordspy.com/words/fadsurfing.asp

    Eileen Shapiro: http://www.writersreps.com/book.cfm?BookID=318

    Fad Surfing in the Boardroom:
    Reclaiming the Courage to Manage in the Age of Instant Answers


    Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap,
    and others Don’t.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0066620996/qid=1139796189/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/102-5874854-0090542?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

    Tuesday, February 14, 2006

     

    ROCCO OUSD COMPLAINT



    Metro Talk
    A news service of the Greater Orange Communities Organization
    OUSD TRUSTEE STEVE ROCCO FILES COMPLAINT

    The Los Angeles Times reported that Orange Unified School District Trustee Steve Rocco filed a complaint on February 5, 2006 in a letter to the Orange County Grand Jury, the Orange County District Attorney, the California State Attorney, the California Secretary of State and the California Fair Political Practices Commission. The Times reported that the complaints allege that the OUSD Board violates open meeting laws when they meet in Closed Session. The Times report also states Rocco “alleges unspecified conflicts of interest, fraud and conspiracy among board members and leaders of the district's legislative coalition and the Orange Education Foundation”. The Times reported also reported that Rocco complained about not having access to district stationary.

    Since his election, Rocco has refused to attend Closed Sessions. Rocco’s refusal has been based on a stated belief that all meetings of elected officials should be held in public. In California, personnel (including labor negotiations) and pending legal matters can be discussed in Closed Session, but must be agenized and reported out. The OUSD Board had been under a 2003 court order to record Closed Session for possible judicial review after complaints from long time OUSD gadfly Kathy Moran. Moran under the former Recalled Board had sat in on Closed Sessions as a “district negotiator”. After the Orange Recall election, Moran continued to try to have a seat in the sessions, but district administrators and the newly elected Citizen’s Board refused to allow her. Moran helped First Amendment Advocate Richard McKee of Claremont file a suit in Orange County Superior Court alleging the OUSD Board illegally spoke about a land deal in a 2001 Closed Session. Judge Andrew Banks ruled in December 2003 that the OUSD Board must disclose on its agenda all discussions in closed session. The end result was OUSD taped its Closed Sessions for review by a judge if needed. Since then, OUSD has carefully followed the spirit and letter of the judicial order and the open meeting law known as the Brown Act.

    Rocco has had a running feud with Denise Bittel of the Orange Education Foundation and the Legislative Coalition. In addition, OUSD Superintendent Office employee Victoria Weber who is also involved in the community booster organizations has also been a target of Rocco’s ire. After Rocco’s election, the OUSD Legislative Coalition proposed to seek legislation that school board trustee candidates be required to collect 25 nominating signatures.

    Rocco has also been critical of the fact he is denied official OUSD stationary even though it contains all the names of the OUSD Trustees. He cites the fact that the OUSD Board President appears to have unfettered access to the stationary, OUSD secretarial services, and a small trustee office in the OUSD Superintendent’s Suite. In December, the OUSD Trustees changed a Recall Reform that rotated the three Board offices among the OUSD Trustees, thus denying Rocco any leadership role.

    California Attorney General Open Government Web Page
    http://www.caag.state.ca.us/open_government/content/access.htm

    California Fair Political Practices Commission Reporting Web Page http://www.fppc.ca.gov/index.html?id=42

    Los Angeles Times Rocco Story
    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-rocco14feb14,0,4351789.story?coll=la-headlines-california

    Sunday, February 12, 2006

     

    Metro TALK


    February 12- 18th PTA introduces the national
    Take Your Family to School Week

    This week PTAs nationwide will introduce PTA Take Your Family to School Week to connect families with their children’s school experiences. PTA has designated the week of February 12-18, 2006, to strengthen parent-school partnerships with this new yearly event. PTA leaders aim to work with principals and teachers to plan special events throughout this special week to motivate parents to step away from the daily grind and into their children’s school.

    Take Your Family to School Week coincides with PTA Founders Day (February 17) that commemorates the day when PTA began its work 109 years ago of encouraging parent involvement in children’s education.

    This year, the California State PTA will hold its annual meeting at the Anaheim Convention Center May 10th-13th. Orange’s own long time PTA and community activist Gisela Meier is on the local PTA Convention Program Committee. The Convention Program Committee is looking for vocal, dance and instrumental groups with up to 35 performers to entertain an audience of up to 5,000 delegates and dignitaries at the May convention. The groups will perform for about a half hour at the beginning of each general session. The schedule is as follows:

    Wednesday, May 10 - Entertainment -- 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Color Guard -- 4:30 p.m.
    Thursday, May 11 - Entertainment -- 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
    Friday, May 12 - Entertainment -- 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
    Saturday, May 13 - Entertainment -- 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.; Color Guard -- 9 a.m.

    All groups must come from a PTA school. Each entertainment group will be given a $250 stipend to help cover transportation costs. For more information about performing, contact information or an application
    CLICK ON:http://www.fourthdistrictpta.org/06convention-performingarts.html .

    For more information on Orange County’s 4th District PTA programs
    CLICK ON:http://www.fourthdistrictpta.org/

    For information on PTA’s Founder’s Day and National PTA's founders Phoebe Apperson Hearst and Alice McLellan Birney
    CLICK ON: http://www.pta.org/ap_founders.html

    Friday, February 10, 2006

     

    Wednesday, February 08, 2006

     

    Metro VIEWS


    Shirley Grindle Responds to
    OC Blog TINCUP Post


    On February 2nd, the OC Blog posted “The Ironic Failure of TINCUP” which stated that the TINCUP Ordinance is responsible for helping keep incumbents in power.
    The posting stated TINCUP was:
    “Shirley Grindle's pride and joy, imposed by Orange County voters in the hopes that by limiting citizens' freedom to support the candidate of their choice, they could insulate elected officials from attempts to influence them.”

    The TINCUP Ordinance Response to the OC Blog
    Submitted by Shirley L. Grindle

    In response to OC Blog who decided to ridicule the TINCUP ordinance, they should check their facts before opening their mouths.
    TINCUP was put into effect by an 85% approval of the voters of Orange County – no other ballot measure has ever passed in Orange County with that high a Yes vote.

    Purpose
    The underlying purpose of the TINCUP ordinance was to take the arm off of the local businesses and those seeking contracts with the county and to do away with the unfair influence gained by lobbyists and others who made huge contributions to local officials. Without contribution limits, a blackmail game was taking place in which County Supervisors and their aides tapped developers and others seeking approval on projects/contracts, for unlimited campaign funds – under the subtle threat that their projects would be held up or not approved if they didn’t contribute. Just ask the developers and the business community in Orange County if they want to go back to the good old days when they were constantly being harassed for unlimited campaign contributions.

    The Real World
    But – let’s be honest. Most challengers raise only a handful of $1500 contributions. All you have to do is look at the challenger’s campaign statements to realize that very few of their contributors max out at the $1500 limit. On the other hand, most incumbents get nothing but $1500 contributions. If the contribution limit was done away with it would place the challengers at an even greater disadvantage because the incumbents would then be able to raise tons more money. As it is now, the limit keeps them in reign although TINCUP does not negate the inherent advantage incumbents always have by virtue of their name identification.

    The only viable argument for lifting the contribution limit is that it would allow a challenger to find a “sugar daddy” who would be willing to fund a campaign – but anyone who has that kind of money can under the current rules, make an “independent expenditure” of any amount to support the candidate. In the old pre-TINCUP days, the business community was forced to contribute to every supervisor when asked, and many companies complained they were being bled dry. In fact, it was at the request of developers and civil engineering firms, that TINCUP was born.

    The ultimate truth of the matter is that incumbents who want to do away with the contribution limit want to do so because as an incumbent it is very easy for them to get huge contributions. Even OC Blog admits that “Sheriff Carona, by virtue of his incumbency, is able to raise a huge war chest in $1,500 increments”. (Emphasis added.) Lifting the limit would result in incumbents raising even bigger war chests with which to overwhelm any challenger.

    Conclusion
    So – for the time being, TINCUP is doing just what it was expected to do. It put the brakes on the amount of money being spent on county campaigns AND it took the arm off of the developers, architects, civil engineers, and others seeking contracts with the county.
    _______________________________
    To view the OC Blog Post
    CLICK ON:http://www.ocblog.net/ocblog/2006/02/the_irony_of_ti.html

    Community groups are welcome to submit editorial viewpoints
    on LOCAL issues for Metro Views

    Monday, February 06, 2006

     

    Orange Unified Schools Digest


    Two OUSD Schools Closed Tuesday in Santiago Canyon Fire

    Anaheim Hills Elementary and Canyon Rim Elementary will be closed Tuesday Feb 7th. Anaheim Hills Elementary, Canyon Rim Elementary and Santiago Charter schools were evacuated as a result of the 1500+ acre Anaheim Hills-Santiago Canyon Fire on Monday Feb 6th. Orange Unified officials also closely watched other canyon area schools. Villa Park H.S. was designated as one of two official Red Cross evacuation centers for over 2000 people who evacuated from Serrano Heights, Orange Park Acres and Anaheim Hills. Orange High School and Santiago Canyon College were two of three designated animal evacuation centers.

    Orange Unified and the City of Orange both posted fire updates on their websites. OUSD at first used its scrolling message ticker to announce in red lettering fire information was available by clicking the scroll. Later in the day, the OUSD Homepage was changed to the fire information page. The City of Orange page gave the time of the posted information and a link to OUSD.

    OUSD also used its automated telephone system to call parents with students at the evacuated schools about the evacuation. Many parents who were home at the time of the call went immediately went to the designated high school (Canyon and El Modena) to pick up students. Those parents responding to the call immediately had to wait for emergency cards to be brought from the schools before the students were released into an adult’s custody.
    CLICK ON : http://greaterorange.blogspot.com/2006/02/special-fire-report.html

    OUSD Administration asks: Who will pay for Fred Kelly upkeep?

    After community representatives addressed the Orange Unified School District Board of Trustees at their January 19 meeting about the possibility of being priced out of using the recently made over Fred Kelly Stadium, the OUSD staff presented a report on the state-of-the-art costs associated with their new state-of-the-art stadium. With Orange Council persons Tita Smith and Carolyn Cavecche, and Rancho Santiago Trustee John Hanna and Community Foundation of Orange Board Member, plus the ever present Villa Park Councilman and Foothills Sentry editorialist Robert Fauteux looking on, the Orange Unified Administration presented a Review of Operations report that gave a breakdown on costs for running Fred Kelly Field. The Community Foundation of Orange spearheaded the community fund raising efforts which raised $500,000 of the $1.8 million dollar cost.

    The staff report broke down the costs for operation of the stadium that included personnel and staffing, restrooms, electricity, plus eventual replacement and maintenance expenditures. The report was not without controversy as community members got their first look at the report that night and questioned some of the data. The delay in the report was a source of contention since the community was first alerted to its existence when the agenda was published. A week prior to the January 19th meeting, Orange Councilman Steve Ambriz had been communicating with OUSD trying to no avail to get a copy of the report for civic leaders and city staff and officials to review.

    After the report was presented, it was obvious that most of the OUSD Trustees understood the frustration of the community members who had raised funds for the facility with the understanding that the youth organizations in the community would use the facilities, but now feared that they would be priced out of the facility. Those Trustees included John Ortega who is also a Community Foundation of Orange Board Member. Declaring that the OUSD staff was “not saying who is to pay”, but merely reporting “this is the cost”, OUSD Superintendent Secretary to the Board Thomas Godley added that how the costs would be paid for was “a discussion for another day”. It was Trustee Kathy Moffat who made the point that the district provided $1.3 million and the community only provided $500,000 of the total $1.8 million cost of the make-over. In addition, Moffat pointed to the fact that the community portion was a gift with no strings attached. Trustee Wes Poutsma echoed Moffat’s points when he appeared to reject the notion of staggered fee schedules as he declared the community contribution was a “gift of public funds” and the district could not “treat one group better than another”. Trustee Rick Ledesma tried to champion the community concerns asking that the staff look for “user friendly” fees by possibly making a profit on outside groups to subsidize fees to local youth groups. In addition, Ledesma called for a Special Session Board Meeting to address all staff and community concerns. The idea of a Special Session meeting was ignored by the other Trustees and staff.
    For More information on the Community Foundation of Orange Fred Kelly Contribution CLICK ON:
    http://www.communityfoundationoforange.org/cgi-bin/datacgi/database.cgi?file=cfo&report=rptShowPage&ID=FredKelly&user=&pass

    Year-Round Schools have Calendar Concerns

    Aligning the year-round schools with traditional during winter break caused some concerns last week by parents from Anaheim and Orange Hills. This week the Calendar Committee proposes more revisions as an information item. To see those revisions see pages 59-62 of the Agenda (see below for online link).

    SURVEY SAYS….

    Last week OUSD had a survey available to all employees by computer. The survey asked for feedback on a range of items from how well the district staff was supportive, to impressions about the OUSD Trustees, Superintendent and other administrators.

    Florida Daggett Conference, What will the OUSD Staff Buy?

    Executive Director Fran Rooney plus 5 OUSD High School Principals will travel to Florida for a Model Schools Conference for $10,623. The Model Schools Conference is a conference put on by Dr. William Daggett’s International Center for Leadership in Education. Far being a leading educational “think tank”, the center and conference is used to promote Daggett’s “Gold Seal Lesson Kits” and numerous other educational paraphernalia. Widely considered leading educational research think tanks do not sell educational paraphernalia. Last year the OUSD Trustees cut $7,500 from the budget to stop broadcasting the Trustee Meetings to the community and only after a community outcry reinstated the money. Now, barely six months later it’s $10,623 in educational tax funds to send administrators to a sales pitch.
    A Google Search on most educators gives you a sense of the breath of work they have produced. The few hits on “Dr. William Daggett” gives you his many paid speaking engagements and:
    See What $10,000 gets you:
    Dr. William Daggett’s 2001 Technology “Predictions”:

    http://intergate.ncc.sdccd.cc.ca.us/teachertraining/articles/League-InnovationNov01.html

    Conference Site; Gaylord Resort, Florida
    CLICK ON http://www.leadered.com/msc06/gaylord.html
    Innovative restaurants, fascinating shops and live entertainment
    The most prestigious spa in Central Florida, a leading-edge fitness and health facility, and a championship golf course at Falcon's Fire


    International Center for Leadership in Education
    “White Papers” All by… W. Daggett

    http://www.leadered.com/white_papers.html

    Order Form for Daggett’s Gold Seal Lessons: http://www.leadered.com/pdf/GSLkitorderform.pdf
    http://www.leadered.com/performance_tasks.html

    Highlights of the NEXT OUSD BOARD MEETING February 9, 2006
    State of the School Report: Orange H.S. by Student Representative: Kieran Sellers
    Item 12 A/B- Del Rio Bond/ Mello-Roos Tax District Public Hearing and Vote
    Item 12C- Alternate Retirement System “ARS” for classified employees
    Item 12D- Wavier of California High School Exam for Students with Disabilities
    Item 12E- Board Policy Revisions Series 3000 Business and Non-Instruction Operations
    Item 13 A- School Calendars- More Information on School Calendars
    Item 13 D- Costs and Fee Schedule for Kelly Stadium adjustments to pay for the “new” Kelly Stadium
    CONSENT AGENDA- All items pass without comment unless a Trustee “pulls” for discussion
    Agenda page 69 The district is switching to Verizon Wireless from Cingular to save $1100 a month on their current $3,200 a month cellphone bill.
    Agenda page 100 Executive Director Rooney and 5 Principals will travel to Florida cost- $10,623.
    COMMUNITY DONATIONS: Mr Vincent Rossi donated an electric keyboard, stand , and amplifier to El Modena High School. For a complete list of community gifts see page 67 of the Board Agenda.

     

    SPECIAL FIRE REPORT


    photo by Orange County Register
    BRUCE CHAMBERS**


    ANAHEIM HILLS FIRE UPDATE
    The 1200 acre Anaheim Hills Fire burns up to the 241 Freeway
    1500 Volunteer and Mandatory evacuations

    ROAD CLOSURES:
    Taft at Yurok (east)
    Santiago Canyon Rd and Newport Bld. (west)
    Canon at Santiago Canyon (north)
    Serrano at Kendra (west)
    Serrano at Canon (east)

    RED CROSS CENTER
    Villa Park H.S. 18042 Taft Ave., V.P.

    LIVESTOCK EVACUATION
    Santiago Canyon College
    Orange High School Farm Program
    Please call 714-997-6299

    The following schools were evacuated:
    Anaheim Hills Elementary: To Canyon H.S.
    Canyon Rim Elementary: To Canyon H.S.
    Santiago Charter: To El Modena
    ALL ATHLETIC AFTER SCHOOL SPORTS PLAYED LOCALLY CANCELLED
    (Traveling “away” games not cancelled)
    After School Child Care Cancelled:
    Anaheim Hills E.S.
    Canyon Rim E.S.
    Linda Vista E.S.
    Panorama E.S.
    Running Springs E.S.

    FOR CITY UPDATES LOG ON: http://www.cityoforange.org/
    FOR SCHOOL UPDATES LOG ON: http://www.orangeusd.org/

    ** The Orange County Register has posted pictures of the fire and surrounding community. They are looking for community members to email them any fire photos they may have. to view phots or email them photos VISIT:http://www.ocregister.com/

    Saturday, February 04, 2006

     

    OC BLOG on TINCUP




    In a February 2nd post, OC Blog's Jubal writes about the Orange County TINCUP ordinance championed by Orange's Shirley Grindle:

    "It's long past time to admit TINCUP is worthless and consign it to the dustbin of political failures."

    To view the post CLICK ON:
    http://www.ocblog.net/ocblog/2006/02/the_irony_of_ti.html

    Wednesday, February 01, 2006

     

    Metro TALK


    Local Malls and the
    Orange Public Library
    Team up for Tot Reading


    The Block at Orange and the Village at Orange have teamed up with the Orange Public Library to bring Storytime to local families while the Orange Main Library is closed for expansion and renovation. The program started last month and gives parents of preschoolers additional venues for the popular Storytime offerings other than the regular offerings at the Taft and El Modena branches. No advanced registration is needed and the program is free for children through 6 years old with a parent or guardian.
    “Orange Public Library Presents Storytimes at the Malls” will run as follows:
    • Wednesdays, weekly
    10:00 – 10:30 a.m.
    The Village at Orange [by the central fireplace]
    For details, please call (714) 998-1521.

    • Thursdays (1st, 2nd, and 4th Thursdays) weekly
    11:00 – 11: 30 a.m.
    The Block at Orange [inside the AMC-30 Theatre lobby]
    For details, please call (714) 769-4001.

    In addition, the regular library Storytimes continue at the Taft and El Modena branch libraries. For further information on the branch or mall programs, please contact the El Modena Branch Library Reference Desk at (714) 288-2454 or the Taft Branch Library Reference Desk at (714) 288-2436.

    The Block has tied the Storytimes to its Muggsy’s Meadow Kids Club promotion. This month the Muggsy’s Meadow will also feature the PBS KIDS Share a Story at Border’s Books on February 16th featuring Clifford stories. For more information on the PBS promotion CLICK ON:
    http://www.theblockatorange.com/static/doc_040863.jsp

    For more information on Muggsy’s Meadow Kids Club at The Block and the many activities throughout the month CLICK ON:
    http://www.muggsysmeadow.com/block/

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