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  • Friday, April 13, 2007


    Ending waste in OUSD = Better Communication in OUSD

    Metro VIEWS ______________:GoCo:
    Local news editorials from the Greater Orange Communities

    Ending waste in OUSD =
    Better Communication in OUSD

    a community editorial by the
    Greater Orange Community Orgainization

    In the upcoming April and May 2007 School News Roll Call Orange Unified School District Edition both OUSD Superintendent Dr.Godley and OUSD Board President Kim Nichols write about OUSD’s redoubled effort to reach-out and communicate to the Greater Orange Communities. Unfortunately in the same issue, while most of the district’s principals in their articles highlight student and parent centered school activities and programs, some have used their articles to highlight the failed multi-million dollar boondoggle- OUSD’s Focus on Results consultant program.

    To have OUSD Principals at two outstanding high-achieving schools choose to highlight the controversial (and in our opinion failed) multi-million dollar bureaucratic consultant program instead of celebrating the achievements of their students and outstanding parent involvement that make their schools so successful, is in our opinion a disservice to the students, parents and staff of those schools, as well as an insult to the taxpayers of Orange Unified.

    Instead of focusing on their school community, the two principals wrote about a multi-million dollar boondoggle in OUSD that has morphed from what OUSD Administrator Cheryl Cohen once publicly described to the OUSD Board of Trustees as a program akin to “marriage encounter training”, to a program that sends high-paid administrators into classrooms (for an average of four to five minutes each) to do bulletin board checks.

    Villa Park Elementary School Principal Larry Hausner writes in the latest OUSD Edition of School News Roll Call (see page 20) that the OUSD Focus on Results team visiting his school saw “great student work posted in the front office”. As an example of the problems the team found, Hausner writes that the team noted that the school failed to post the grading criteria (rubric) with the posted work on the bulletin boards: “The teams noted that writing rubrics should be posted along with student work…” What was the multi-million dollar focus-on-bulletin-boards checking teams suggestion for school-wide improvement? Hausner writes that the school needs to “display student work consistently”. We can only imagine how excited Governor Schwarzenegger will be when he finds out that after spending millions of educational tax dollars OUSD has discover the path to higher student scores: "display student work consistently”.

    However wasteful public spending is never funny. Surely, even the most diehard bureaucrat can see the waste of spending millions of educational tax dollars for a program that has given cash-strapped and Underperforming School heavy OUSD essentially a program of thinly disguised bulletin board checks conducted by high paid administrators and teachers who leave substitute teachers in their classrooms.

    State testing data for Villa Park Elementary in 2006 shows the school had only 13 English learners out of the 391 students. The state has an Academic Performance Index (API) testing target score of 800. Villa Park Elementary has a whopping 882 on that API index and has an API ranking of a 9-8 school. Parent involvement, economic advantage, plus engaged and productive students are clearly responsible for the school’s success. Villa Park Elementary School is successful because of an educationally engaged school community, NOT because of a multi-million dollar boondoggle. This is the second time that Principal Hausner has used his communication opportunity in School News Roll Call not to celebrate his school, but to focus on the multi-million dollar wasteful consultant program that has nothing to do with his schools success. At worst in our opinion Hausner’s comments reflect that he is out of touch with his successful school community. At best we fear Hausner is trying to score points with top district administrators by writing about a failed multi-million dollar program that has nothing to do with his schools outstanding scores. On our community Focus on Results-style “I wonder…”’ list, we wonder if Principal Hausner as an OUSD Focus on Results-embracer follows the unrealistic mandate from the OUSD Focus on Results program for principals to spend 50% of all their time at their school site in classrooms. We are positive we know the answer to our “I wonder…”

    Running Springs Elementary School Principal Greg Bowden also uses half of his space in the OUSD Edition of School News Roll Call (see page 19) to tout the multi-million dollar bureaucratic program. Here too we have a school over 540 students (with engaged parents) that scored well above the state required 800 API target at 874 (330 White students had an 866 API score and 137 Asian students had a 919 API score) on the school’s 2006 API results. Like Hausner, Bowden too uses his valuable communication to the Greater Orange Communities not to celebrate his outstanding students, parents and staff, but to help publicize a million dollar “marriage encounter training” program now turned bulletin board check that has wasted valuable educational resources.

    Despite the millions of educational tax dollars spent on the OUSD Focus on Results program, Dr. Godley gave the OUSD Board a sobering report last year about OUSD’s federally required testing results. Godley reported that while OUSD’s scores have been rising (as is true in districts across the state that didn’t spend millions on a consultant program like OUSD has) the district’s scores are not rising high or fast enough to avoid future sanctions. Additionally Godley at the March 20, 2007 Board Meeting presented a budget restructure plan to cover a projected budget shortfall due in part to decreasing student enrollment. The OUSD students, parents, staff and taxpayers deserve more than millions of educational tax dollars OUSD’s Focus on Results consultant program has delivered. As Godley continues to get OUSD’s fiscal house in order it is time the Trustees and his administration recognized that it’s time to end wasting valuable educational tax resources on the failed pet program of a few of his administrators.

    In the past the Greater Orange Communities have been reluctant to give more money to educational bureaucrats who waste educational tax resources, then ask taxpayers for more. If Dr. Godley and the Trustees are serious about improving communication, perhaps they can start by ending OUSD’s biggest boondoggle that has no evidence of providing anything worthwhile to the district, students or staff. By ending OUSD’s Focus on Results waste, Dr. Godley and the OUSD Trustees will send a clear message that they are ready to be fiscally responsible with the educational tax dollars the Greater Orange Communities will entrust them with. What better way to unite the Greater Orange Communities to work for the common cause of improving our schools?

    Community groups and individuals are welcome to submit
    editorial viewpoints on LOCAL issues for Metro VIEWS

    Metro VIEWS is a community news service of the Orange Communication System OCS
    Producers of

    Orange Net News /O/N/N/ eLECTION Watch 2007
    Metro TALK Community Update Metro VIEWS
    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE

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    Greater Orange News Service is a community service of the Orange Communication System /OCS/, the communications arm of the Greater Orange Community Orgainization