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Monrovia School Link ~ Number 66 ~ Sept. 24, 2003

Well, Assemblywoman Carol Liu showed up to chat about what the legislature has been doing. Fairly straight-spoken, I thought. Also, I finally figured out what this Parent Institute is. I'll explain below.
~ Brad Haugaard (brad@sacklunch.net)

POSSIBLE POSSIBILITIES ~ Assemblywoman Carol Lui, a member of the State Assembly Education Committee, gave a quick report. A few of her points: Of the budget, she said "It's not a pretty budget." [No kidding]. But, she said, the state avoided cutting out kindergarten, which was apparently a cut being considered. She said that "the possibility of mid-year cuts are a possibility." One thing I appreciated was that she asked the district to "give me a list of mandates you hate that we make you do, so we can eliminate them." If the legislature adds rules, she said, they ought also to take rules away. I like that thinking. Board member Bruce Carter said Liu is the Assembly's best informed legislator. Then the board gave her a pen.

PARENT INSTITUTE ~ Thank goodness the representative from Parent Institute for Quality Education passed out a pamphlet. The verbal presentation - despite Board Member Monina Diaz' repeated proding - was poor. You couldn't tell what it was about. The Parent Institute is a seminar for parents of Clifton and Santa Fe middle school students. It's objectives, I only discovered by reading, are to train low-income parents of elementary and middle school children to help their children stay in school, improve their performance in class, improve their relations with their children, and help their children get into a university. Since parents are so important in education, this may be worthwhile. The pamphlet said the Rand Corporation did a study of the program, which showed fewer children of parents who take the program get into trouble, fewer are absent without permission, more parents have been in contact with their children's teachers, more children spent a fixed amount of time on homework, and more parents feel their children are motivated to go to college. Sounds pretty good. But, man, what a lousy sales job.

ADOPTION ~ Board President Frances Cash said the district has worked a deal with the City Council in which Council members will each adopt a school, which means they will attend events at the schools.

QUALIFYING ~ The board received a long report about Student Support Services that included a section on - read this carefully - "8th grade students qualifying as 'Recommended for Retention.'" I think that's a nice way of saying, "flunking."

SHAME ON YOU ~ I doubt Monrovian Cyrus Kemp will get an invitation to dinner from the superintendent or board members. He said that while recognition should be given for jobs well done, he added that "recognition should also be given for jobs that are not well done." He said "The School Board has not been doing a good job. It's main job is to manage the superintendent." He said that he is "sure [Superintendent] Louise Taylor is a very nice person, but the performance has been lackluster. You review the superintendent," he told the board. "The buck stops with you. I cannot see any results that have been produced in her tenure [12 years, he said] that whould lead me to think she should continue. To all of you on the board, 'Shame on you.'"

CSBA ~ At the last meeting Kemp objected to the district spending money on the California School Boards Association because it advocates for legislation, which he said is illegal. This meeting Board Member Bruce Carter gave a presentation about CSBA (he said it does advocacy, helps districts comply with laws, provides financial services, legal assistance and education for board members). Kemp replied that Carter was claiming the ends justify the means. He used an analogy I really didn't like, saying it is like police beating or killing suspects. While I didn't like the analogy, his point was that whatever good the district gets out of CSBA, it is obtained in violation of the California Education Code. Hey, I'm not a big fan of the board, but I have a *really* tough time believing the district is violating the law by belonging to CSBA.

ANTE ~ The board members set the example for their community campaign by chipping in the first bucks. Bruce Carter put in $100, Frances and David Cash put in $100, and Betty Sandford put in a whopping $5,000.

WEDDING ~ The board also approved accepting a wedding gown, veil, shoes and book, worth $480 for the Personal and Social Living program at Monrovia High. That's nice, but I'm curious how you use a wedding gown in education.

BIG MONTH ~ Oh, October is a big month. What? No, not Halloween. Bigger! Yup, the board has proclaimed October Character Education month ("morality, truth, justice, patriotism, and a true comprehension of the rights, duties, and dignity of American citizenship" - and other stuff). And there's more. Yes, October 13-17 is National School Lunch Week. But wait! That's not all. The board also proclaimed October 23-31 as Red Ribbon Week (drug, alcohol and tobacco free kids).

OUTSTANDING ~ Four district employees were honored "for their outstanding service." They were Margarita Lopez, office manager at Canyon Oaks High School; Tom Rosenstein, a Canyon Oaks teacher; Stella Torres, a clerical assistant at Monrovia Adult School; and Lynn Whitaker, an ESL teacher at Monrovia Adult School. Congratulations all!

NEXT BOARD MEETING ~ The next regular Monrovia school board meeting is on October 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the administration office at 325 E. Huntington Drive.

Copyright (c) 2003, Brad Haugaard. Also on the Web, when I get around to putting it there, at: http://www.sacklunch.net/MonroviaSchoolLink