As I mentioned in this post, the Long Beach Unified School District is once again threatening to close a terrific school that has rebuilt a community and serves hundreds of children who will be displaced by this destructive, mean-spirited money-grab.
Two years ago, the school faced the same fate – complete with parents not being allowed to speak at public Board meetings and being roughed-up by district security.
A that time , I sent Superintendent Christopher Steinhauser the following questions in a Freedom of Information Act request. The Superintendent and Board Members refused to answer any of my questions.
Since menacing a fine school with community support seems a tradition in Long Beach, I share my two year-old questions below. Feel free to ask any or all of them via email or Twitter.
WOULD YOU BELIEVE THAT THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT and BOARD MEMBERS PUBLISH NO EMAIL ADDRESSES?
- PLEASE send email messages of support to the Board Secretary at LRodriguez@lbschools.net
- and the Superintendent of Schools, Christopher Steinhauser’s Secretary at email@example.com
- The Superintendent’s Twitter handle is @SuptSteinhauser Feel free to tweet him.
Dear Superintendent Steinhauer:
I am currently writing a number of articles for The Huffington Post and other publications about the New City Public Schools proposed charter revocation You prompt response to the following questions is greatly appreciated.
I know how busy you are, so answering the following questions via email is considerate of your schedule and immune to misquoting.
1) If your recommendation to close the New City Public Schools is realized at the end of August, where will New City Students attend school in September? (please list all possible schools)
2) What is the current enrollment at those schools?
3) What will be the impact on class size and teacher-student ratios
4) How many former New City students in grades 6-8 will be required to attend LBUSD middle schools if K-8 options do not exist?
5) Will LBUSD need to assign additional teaching personnel to schools to accommodate the influx of New City students? Is this budgeted? What are the qualifications of those teachers? Why are they available on such short notice?
5) Please provide the attendance rates over the past three school years for the LBUSD schools likely to enroll former New CIty students.
6) Please provide the vandalism rates over the past three school years for the LBUSD schools likely to enroll former New CIty students.
7) Please provide the incidence of substance abuse over the past three school years for the LBUSD schools likely to enroll former New CIty students.
8) Please provide the crime rates over the past three school years for the LBUSD schools likely to enroll former New CIty students, organized by type of infraction.
9) Please provide the graduation rates for LBUSD students who attended the New City Public Schools prior to 2009.
10) Please indicate the frequency of art instruction at the LBUSD schools likely to enroll former New City students.
11) Please indicate the frequency of music instruction at the LBUSD schools likely to enroll former New City students.
12) How many field trips to LBUSD students enjoy? Please indicate by school likely to enroll former New City students.
13) What is the percentage of bilingual faculty at the LBUSD schools likely to enroll former New City students?
14) What sort of counseling services are being planned to help former New City students deal with the trauma associated with the charter revocation and transition into the LBUSD schools? Is this budgeted for?
15) How long will it take for the LBUSD to evaluate and develop IEPs, where appropriate for the former New City students joining LBUSD?
16) Do students at other LBUSD schools engage in public juried exhibitions as a form of assessment?
17) How does teacher professional development compare between the New City Public Schools and LBUSD schools?
18) How does time and resources for teacher planning and collaboration compare between LBUSD schools and The New City Public Schools?
19) How do playground facilities compare between The New City Public Schools and the LBUSD schools former NCPS students are likely to attend?
20) Will neighborhood schools accommodate all former NCPS students? If not, will transportation be provided by LBUSD?
21) Please indicate how many times since 2022, that you have visited The New City Public Schools? What was the purpose of those visits?
22) In your professional judgement, why are you recommending revocation of the NCPS charter?
23) If you were handed the keys to The New City Public Schools tomorrow, what would you do differently? What would you add? What would you eliminate?
24) Why does it seem that Long Beach is such a hostile jurisdiction for charter schools? Do you think the demand for parental choice will disappear after you revoke all of the school charters?
25) What are the anticipated financial costs or revenue to be realized by the LBUSD if The New City Public Schools are closed?
25) What is your favorite book about learning?
26) What do you most admire about The New City Public Schools?
27) Why do you believe that The New City Public Schools is failing?
28) What is the role of parents in assessing the quality of their children’s education?
29) Do you have metrics to indicate levels of parental involvement across LBUSD schools? If so, will you kindly share that data?
30) Do you think it is appropriate for LBUSD School Board Meetings to be held during business hours in a tiny venue inaccessible to public transportation? How does this help increase community involvement in education?
31) How many school days are dedicated to standardized testing, practice tests or test-preparation in the LBUSD?
32) What were the 2011-2012 costs of standardized testing, practice tests and test-preparation materials in the LBUSD?
33) How many personnel are dedicated to standardized testing, test preparation, data analysis and other assessment-related activities?
34) What were the 2011-2012 personnel costs related to standardized testing, test preparation, data analysis and other assessment-related activities?
35) How many MacArthur Genius Award recipients have worked with LBUSD schools? Please name them.
36) How many colleagues of Jean Piaget have worked with LBUSD schools? Please name them.
37) Please indicate the number of LBUSD K-8 schools with their own farm.
38) What have The New City Public Schools contributed to real estate values, commerce and quality of life in their geographic areas?
39) I read the Superintendent’s goals for the 2011-12 school year at http://www.lbschools.net/Main_Offices/Superintendent/goals_10-11.cfm Presumably, they are intended to hold you accountable to the children, parents and tax-payers of Long Beach. They seem remarkably vague and easy to achieve. Do you think that The New City Public Schools is held to a higher standard of accountability than you are?
40) El Broad is a benefactor of the LBUSD and a proponent of charter schools. How might you explain to him why a city the size of Long Beach has no charter schools?
41) Does it strike you as odd that the LBUSD School Board would invoke to close schools without any public deliberation, dialogue, debate or request for evidence by the School Board?
I am enormously grateful for your help in organizing the data I requested and sharing your professional opinions with me.
Thank you for your service.
Gary S. Stager, Ph.D.
Veteran educator Gary Stager, Ph.D. is the author of Twenty Things to Do with a Computer – Forward 50, co-author of Invent To Learn — Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, publisher at Constructing Modern Knowledge Press, and the founder of the Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute. He led professional development in the world’s first 1:1 laptop schools thirty years ago and designed one of the oldest online graduate school programs. Gary is also the curator of The Seymour Papert archives at DailyPapert.com. Learn more about Gary here.