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  • Friday, November 25, 2016

     

    Holiday time!

    Greater Orange holiday celebrations: 

    Plaza Tree lighting, Santa Tour,

    Villa Park Dry Land Boat Parade and OPA party

    The Christmas holiday season’s official Greater Orange kickoff celebrates 22 years of tree lighting ceremonies in the Historic Old Towne Orange Plaza on Sunday December 4, 2016.

    The whole family is invited to this free event to enjoy good cheer, photo opportunities with Santa, and family fun activities. 

    As always, refreshments will be sold by local non-profit groups for a nominal fee, which goes to support their works in the community.

    The traditional local kick-off to the holiday season starts at 3:30 p.m., as Santa Claus comes to the Old Towne Plaza for kids of all ages. 

    The center piece of the event-the official tree lighting-will take place at  5:15 p.m. with the traditional candle light choir procession. 

    In case of rain please call the official Orange Special Events Hotline for details: 714-744-7278.

    Santa to Tour Villa Park December 10th before heading back to the North Pole
    Few people outside Villa Park may know that Santa and Mrs. Claus keep their Southern California vacation residence right here in Greater Orange at the Claus Villa in Villa Park.

    Each year before making the final push towards getting ready for that Christmas Eve world tour, the Claus family spends a weekend at their Villa Park get-a-way. Traditionally, Santa has thanked his home-away-from home neighbors with the Annual Villa Park Santa Tour winding his way through Greater Orange's “Hidden Jewel” in a bright red fire truck. 

    This year’s Santa's annual tour (with some locally famous very large elves) is Saturday December 10, 2016 from 8:00 am- 3:30 pm.

    Along with the 28 scheduled stops, Santa has been known to drop by or stop along the route where ever there is a gathering of believers. 

    For more information contact the Villa Park City Hall at 714-998-1500. 

    The Annual Santa Tour is sponsored by the Villa Park Foundation.

    For more information CLICK ON: Santa Tour


    Great Villa Park Inland Boat Parade December 11th
    Being land-locked never bothered many in Greater Orange, especially in Villa Park where the Annual Great Villa Park Inland Boat Parade takes place on Sunday December 11th, 2016. 

    This year's 19th Annual theme is "Twinkling Twilight".

    The flotilla sails through the backwaters of Villa Park, starting at 5:00 pm from Villa Park High School on Sunday December 11th. The mighty Villa Park Fleet will sail to the Villa Park Towne and Community Centre arriving around 6:00 pm. for more hometown festivities including a tree lighting ceremony and entertainment.

    The Great Villa Park Inland Boat Parade is sponsored by the Villa Park Foundation.

    For a map and more information CLICK ON and scroll to the bottom: VP Boat Parade

    Orange Park Acres Holiday Party December 11th
    On the same night that Villa Park figuratively sets sail, Orange Park Acres will figuratively heading south of the border for its holiday bash- an all-you-can-eat Mexican Buffet. 

    The tickets ($35 for adults and $20 for kids 12 and under) must be purchased before the event and are online until December 7th.  For more information and to purchase tickets click on: OPA CHRISTMAS






    Wednesday, November 16, 2016

     

    New Controversial Charter application and Measure S moves forward

    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    Independent insight into OUSD      
    a news service of
     Orange Net News /O/N/N/
    The fringe Gulen Movement, post-truths and a political PAC
    The truth about members on the Board for proposed Voyager Charter School in OUSD
    Reading about members of the Board of Directors on the website of the proposed Voyager Charter Orange Charter does not give the whole story for some of the proposed charter school's Board members.   However, in the era of  post-truth, reality often is represented in a alternative way when the truth may be something that may be inconvenient .


    Orange Unified School Board Agenda Item 12 C (Agenda page 5) for the November 15, 2016 Board Meeting is a public hearing on the newest charter school application to come before the Orange Unified Trustees- the Voyager Charter School, Orange.  The Thursday night hearing is to "consider the level of support"  for the charter from the community, district parents, teachers and employees.


    Going to the proposed charter's website, a visitor is immediately  greeted by a photo of four very young children: one white blue-eyed blond boy; a blond blue-eyed white girl, and one African-American boy and one African American girl.   No Hispanic/Latino Americans or Asian Americans.   The California Department of Education breaks down the racial demographics of Orange Unified as: 53.8 Hispanic/Latino; 30.4% White; 9.4% Asian; 1.3% African American.


    The all white Voyager Board of Directors is not what makes them unique in the diverse Greater Orange Community, it is what is missing from the information provided in some of the biographies of the Board of Directors.
    (click on Voyager Board)


    Voyage Lead Petitioner has employment  links to controversial Turkish Imam Fethullah Gulen
    The Voyager Board's Lead Petitioner and Founding Member is former charter school teacher and administrator Karen Evans. According to Evans' biography on the Voyager website, "Karen left full-time education work in 2014 to join her family’s business".  

    What is that "family business" that is not listed on the Voyager website that Karen Evans joined full time almost three years ago?  The Evans family business is a comic strip. Karen Evans now helps with her father, cartoonist  Greg Evans, with his comic strip Luann.   
    (click on SD Tribune )

    Before that however,  Karen Evans was an administrator for two Gulen Movement affiliated organizations: Irvine based Accord Education and the Magnolia Foundations' Magnolia Science Academy charter school system. Both of these controversial organizations have documented ties to the Gulen Movement known in Arabic as  Hizmet. or "the service".  This fringe movement was started by Turkish Imam ( Muslim cleric) Fethullah Gulen, now in exile in the U.S.  


    Image result for Imam Fethullah Gulen
    Imam Fethullah Gulen
    Imam Fethullah Gulen and his movement are implicated by the Turkish Government in this year's July 15th failed military coup in Turkey. The Turkish government is attempting to have Imam Fethullah Gulen extradited back to Turkey from his residence in Pennsylvania.



    The Turkish government lists Fethullah Gulen as a terrorist.


    Karen Evans  was the Director of Accountability for Irvine based and Gulen affiliated Accord Education partners.  Evans also served as a Dean at a Magnolia Science Academy in La Mesa California just outside of San Diego

    Over a hundred Magnolia charter schools across the U.S. are operated by Gulen affiliated Magnolia Foundation. Despite the extensive evidence, both of these organizations (as all Gulen related orgainizations do) maintain in a post-truth style  statements they are  are not affiliated with each other or the Gulen Movement.
    Image result for fethullah gulen charter schools
    Nationwide map of Gulen affiliated charter schools and "educational" orgainizations

    The Magnolia Foundation charter schools were the subject of a controversial financial report from LA Unified Inspector General:

    In the audit of Magnolia Science Academy Charter Schools, we found that Magnolia Public Schools were not in full compliance with selected provisions outlined in the Charter Agreements. We found (i) the schools did not maintain all required employment and enrollment documentation, (ii) related party transactions were not disclosed in audited financial statements, and (iii) required fund reserves were not maintained. Magnolia’s Charter School executive management agreed with all 11 recommendations and had taken some corrective actions before the completion of the audit on some recommendations.   

    One of the many concerns of LAUSD and other districts dealing with the Magnolia Foundation charters and Gulen's other nation-wide charters  are the importing of Gulen affiliated Turkish nationals under H1-B visas to fill teaching and staff positions at the schools.
    (Click on LAUSD REPORT  and LA TIMES  )

    In February of this year, the Turkish Government using the  international law firm of  Amsterdam and Partners filed a formal complaint against the Magnolia Foundation schools network in California.  A similar move by the law firm was started in Texas against the Harmony Charters affiliated with the Gulen Movement.
    For more information CLICK On:

    The Magnolia Foundation has fought back against detractors with huge demonstrations at LAUSD Board meetings and at the headquarters of Amsterdam and Partners.

    Karen Evans' writings in her master's program digital portfolio shows that all her 12 years of education experience was always at charter schools-mostly with the Gulen affiliated charters. She writes:
    "I started teaching full time in 2002, right out of college.  A small charter school happened to be down the street and I landed a job there, ignorant of charter schools but very much open to new ideas in education.  I have been working in the charter system ever since, mainly at Magnolia Science Academy which is a STEM-focused middle school in San Diego"
    Click on EVANS Digital

    In Evan's master's program digital portfolio, on March 16, 2010, four years before she quits teaching, she writes about her educational experience:
    "Now, I am teaching in an essentially traditional charter school. I am doing all the things I never wanted to do as a teacher; all the things that my high school teachers did that made me want to become an educator so I could NOT do those things. I just did a two day training on the 7th grade state writing test and how to drill our kids to perform better on artificial test questions."
    click on Evans 3/16/10

    In her 2nd year digital portfolio, Evan's writes about attending an "experimental" under graduate college. In a first year post, she had mentioned that the college, Prescott College, had no grades.  In an April 30, 2011 post she further writes this about her "experimental" education:
    "I transfered [sic] schools four times and ultimately graduated from Prescott College:  500 students engaged in experiential education.  One thing I have found, coming from a self-directed pbl college, is that my ability and confidence to learn and problem solve is often much advanced over those who were drilled in traditional lecture-style classrooms.  I take pride in this.  However, I have also found that I am sometimes left standing outside of some "Scholarly" traditions and rituals:  as an English major, I've not read most "classic" British or American literature; I don't know Whitman or Frost or Dickinson; I've never written an extensive research paper or crafted a detailed bibliography; I've not joined an honor society or attended a lecture hall.  Do these things matter?  Should they matter?  I have to keep questioning what schools are trying to prepare students for: reality?  ideals?  innovations?  traditions? certainties? "
    click on  Evans 4/30/11


    Voyager Board member student assessment taken to task in 2006 state hearing
    Also on the Voyager Charter Board is Newport Beach psychologist Dr. Perry Passaro.  Dr. Passaro is no stranger to Orange Unified. In 2006, a written assessment of an OUSD student from Dr. Passaro's (he did not testify)  was part of an California State Administrative Hearing that OUSD prevailed in- allowing the district to conduct another assessment of the student. 

    The hearing documents report:

    "The District witnesses disagreed with Student’s mother about the sufficiency of Dr. Passaro’s assessment. Dr. William Gee, who has worked in the past as a school psychologist and special education teacher, pointed out that Dr. Passaro did not base his conclusions on any classroom observations of Student.

    In Dr. Gee’s opinion, it would be difficult to make a finding of an attention disorder without comparing a child’s conduct in the classroom with the child’s conduct in other settings. Bolton explained that Passaro either did not administer the full Kaufman test and subtests to Student or failed to report the scores of the full tests. In particular, Passaro omitted any results for the portion of that test involving reading. In Bolton’s opinion that was a significant omission in light of Passaro’s 5 conclusion that Student had a specific learning disability in the area of reading. Dr. Gee explained that because of the discrepancy between Dr. Passaro’s assessment and the two prior assessments done by the District, Dr. Passaro’s assessment alone would not be sufficient to allow the IEP team to determine Student’s eligibility. Instead, a new assessment by the District was required. 

    18.The evidence supports a finding that the District’s request for a new assessment was reasonable in light of the information the District possessed in August 2006. In July 2006, the District received, for the first time, an assessment which concluded that Student might be eligible for special education. The assessment was contrary to two prior assessments conducted by the District more than a year before.

    The District personnel had concerns about the independent assessor’s failure to observe Student in the classroom and had questions about the presentation of some of the results of his testing. Under those circumstances, a new assessment by the District was warranted to help the IEP team determine Student’s educational or related services needs."



    Voyager post-truth biography on another Board member "teacher"
    Another Voyager Charter Board of Director member is Erin Keller.

    From the Voyager Charter website, Keller's biography explains Keller's vast experience as a teacher as promotes the post-truth impression that Keller is still teaching.  She is not.

    According to Keller's LinkedIn page, Keller has been an executive assistant for the Orange County Office of Chapter 13 (bankruptcy court) since 2014. Before that she was an Executive Legal Assistant for Lewis Law Group in Santa Ana from 2013-2014. and held another legal assistant job for Sherman Oaks' Simon and Renick from 2009-2013. According to her LinkedIn page, she taught for only  five years 13 years ago. 
    click on Keller LinkedIn

    According to the California Commission on Teaching Credentialing, the only Erin Keller with a social studies teaching credential is Erin Shea Keller.  The teaching credential for Erin Shea Keller  expired in July 2016.  

    Like Karen Evans, Keller is also from La Mesa, California.

    Voyager President and GenNext: Russia, Islam and StudentsFirst Michelle Rhee
    President of Voyager Charter Board of Directors is Chris Winn. The biography on the Voyager website about Winn lists him as "President of Sales and Service Inc. a Villa Park, California firm specializing in technical marketing, product development with market implementation and consulting to the top semiconductor manufacturers in the United States and abroad".  According to the Sales and Service website, the firm is headquartered on La Palma Ave in Anaheim.

    The Voyager Charter website also lists Winn as a founder of GenNext . It describes GenNext as  "Newport Beach based organization with roles in Philanthropy, a Federal PAC, with an investment platform (Foundation) for matters important to our country’s continued success, national security and education".

    The GenNext website describes it as "Gen Next is an invitation-only organization of successful individuals dedicated to learning about and becoming engaged with the most pressing challenges facing future generations."

    The GenNext  Twitter feed is full of both charter school tweets and tweets on fighting the Islamic State (ISIS). 
    click on OC Register

    It's last tweet as of 11/15/16 was an October retweet on a Russian warlords and Ukraine:

    At least seven pro-Russian warlords have been assassinated in Eastern Ukraine

    click on GenNext Twitter

    On the GenNext not very active Facebook page, the second posting is from January 2014. That post is about a GenNext program featuring national charter school guru Michelle Rhee-founder and CEO of the anti-teacher union political lobbying group: StudentsFirst.
     
    Gen Next added 90 new photos from January 28, 2014 to the album: 1.28.14 — with Autumn Strier and 10 others at Fig and Olive.
    January 28, 2014
    Incredible Gen Next program in Orange County on Tuesday with Michelle Rhee, Founder & CEO of StudentsFirst.

     click on GenNext Facebook and LA TIMES

    On the Voyager Charter School website, Winn's biography includes the fact that  GenNext has a federal Political Action Committee. The GenNext Equity PAC has both a Costa Mesa and a Newport Beach address.  Click on GenNext PAC

    Of the nine Congressional races the GenNext PAC supported in 2016, two were incumbents from California: Ed Royce, 40th Congressional District; and  David  Valadao, 21st, Congressional District. Both favor School Voucher Programs, click on:
    Also click on

    The OUSD Board is scheduled to make a decision on granting a charter at their December 8, 2016 Board Meeting.

    OUSD Board moves toward implementation
    after voters overwhelmingly support Measure S
    After winning over 60% of the vote this month for the OUSD Measure S Facilities Bond, two Agenda items will move forward on the Thursday November 16th OUSD to start implementing the facilities improvements at OUSD's four high schools.

    Action Item 12 A ( Agenda page 3) will authorize contracts with four architectural firms, one for each high school, to proceed planning for Phase 1 work under Measure S.

    Action Item 12 B (Agenda page 4) will authorize a contract with Cumming Corporation to be the Measure S Program Manager to coordinate and implement planning aspects for the facilities upgrades under Measure S.    


    NEXT OUSD BOARD MEETING November 17, 2016
    Next OUSD Board Meeting -OUSD BOARD ROOM
    CLOSED SESSION- 5:30 pm
    OUSD Regular Session: 7:00 pm
    For AGENDA-CLICK ON: OUSD AGENDA


    For more information call the OUSD Superintendent’s office at 714-628-4040
    For budgeting questions call Business Services at 714-628-4015

    ARCHIVAL Information and direct news can be found at:
    the Greater Orange News Service http://greaterorange.blogspot.com/
    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    and the
    Greater Orange News Service
    are independent news services of /O/N/N/
    Orange Net News




    Wednesday, November 09, 2016

     

    MEASURE S PASSES

    FOURTH TRY IS THE CHARM
    Greater Orange approves 
    Measure S School Bond

    After four previous attempts to have voters approve a bond measure, the voters of Greater Orange approved Measure S. The $288 million bond measure will be evenly split between Orange Unified's four comprehensive high schools.

    The win for Measure S was another loss in a string of losses for former Villa Park Councilwomen Deborah Pauly.  The Orange County Republican Party also opposed Measure S.

    While more organized and well financed, Measure S supporters were also helped by the unusual colliding over writing the opposition ballot language for Measure S by two fringe anti-Measure S politicians- Pauly and former OUSD Trustee Steve Rocco.  Ultimately the courts ruled against Pauly. 

    Following that court victory,  Rocco's ballot rebuttal to the Measure S ballot statement was not accepted by the Orange County Registrar of Voters.

    The underfinanced and outnumbered anti-Measure A side took to unusual tactics including spray painting Yes on Measure A signs to turn them into No signs.  In a last ditch effort over the weekend, an anti-Measure A mass mailing to a few zip codes in Orange clearly violated state election laws that require  financial committee names and FPPC numbers on political mailers.  

    In the OUSD Trustee races for two seats, Trustee Area 2 incumbent John Ortega easily won re-election over Orange Planning Commissioner Daniel Correa in his first contested race since being elected in the 2001 Orange Recall.

    In OUSD Trustee Area 6, Pastor Brenda Lebsack ran as a slate with Ortega. Lebsack defeated her two opponents Nicole Baitix-Kennedy and current Trustee Mark Wayland's son Jeremy Wayland.   

    In the City of Villa Park,  the two council seats were won by Vince Rossini and Robert Pitts in a come-from-behind victory over Howard Kirschner. 


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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