LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Officials from the Los Angeles Unified School District met with administrators and teachers at Jefferson High School Thursday to discuss class-scheduling problems that prompted a judge to order immediate intervention from the state Department of Education.
According to the district, participants in the meeting “identified any resources needed to meet the academic needs of students. The district looks forward to sharing this plane with the state, as outlined by the court.”
On Wednesday, Alameda Superior Court Judge George Hernandez Jr. issued a temporary restraining order, instructing the state to resolve the problem, ordering state education officials to meet with LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy by Monday to develop a plan and then present options to the district’s Board of Education by Tuesday.
Deasy, however, was scheduled to leave Thursday for a trip to South Korea.
The order was prompted by scheduling problems that have persisted since the beginning of the school year, leaving some students unable to attend courses they need to graduate, and other students assigned to so-called “content-less” classes or even sent home. Some students were assigned to classes they had already passed.
Hernandez wrote in his ruling that the scheduling problems at Jefferson High School are due “in part to Jefferson’s (and/or LAUSD’s) inability to implement new scheduling software,” a reference to the district’s troubled MiSiS computerized student information system that has made Deasy a target of criticism by the teachers’ union and some students.
Deasy and the district were even rebuked by the judge, who wrote there was “no evidence of any organized effort to help those students who have been assigned to courses several weeks into the semester to catch up to their peers.”
Deasy on Wednesday called the court’s order a “victory for youth.”
“This is why I fought two years ago to have students have a full schedule, and why we are trying to negotiate the right to set a master schedule that meets individual school needs. We especially look to state Superintendent Tom Torlakson to support full and rigorous schedules for all youth,” he said.
But the teachers’ union, United Teachers Los Angeles, lashed out at his handling of the Jefferson High situation, and said his decision to support the lawsuit was an effort to “mask his own culpability.”
In August, hundreds of students staged a protest at Jefferson High over the scheduling problems and demanded that steps be taken to resolve the problem.
Issues with the MiSiS system, coupled with the troubled rollout of the district’s $1 billion effort to provide iPads or laptops to all students and staffers, have raised questions about Deasy’s future with the district.
The school board met behind closed doors recently to discuss Deasy’s upcoming performance review, and is scheduled to discuss the matter again Tuesday, although Deasy will still be on his South Korea trip. His performance review is scheduled for Oct. 21.
Deasy’s contract with the district lasts until June 2016, but it can be terminated by the board at any time with 30 days notice.
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