Morning Read: Brown vetoes two out of four truancy bills

Brown splits package of bills aimed at reducing truancy
Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday vetoed two bills aimed at curbing truancy and absenteeism among California students. LA Times

Tuck, Torlakson debate union power, lawsuit
The two candidates for state superintendent of public instruction disagreed on the condition of K-12 education in California, the influence of teachers unions and which of them is best qualified for the job at a forum Saturday in Burlingame. EdSource

School board starts weighing Supt. Deasy’s evaluation
The Board of Education began deliberations Tuesday on the evaluation of Supt. John Deasy, who has come under fire for his handling of a $1.3-billion effort to provide iPads to all students and for what critics call an autocratic, ineffective leadership style. LA TImes

$335,000 to cover security for Inglewood Unified’s trustee raises questions
The state-appointed trustee running the Inglewood Unified School District approved $135,000 in additional school district funds Tuesday to pay an armed California Highway Patrol officer who works as his driver and security guard. KPCC

2 Compton schools named National Blue Ribbon award winners
Two Compton elementary schools were named Tuesday as winners of National Blue Ribbon Schools awards by Education Secretary Arne Duncan. KPCC

Homeless student population in US grew rapidly since recession

hechinger_logoVia Hechinger Report | by Jill Barshay

Despite signs of a national economic recovery, homelessness in U.S. public schools steadily increased 8 percent, to 1.26 million students, in the 2012-13 school year from the previous year. That may not sound terrible, but consider that it is part of a 58 percent jump in the number of homeless students in the six years since the start of the economic recession of 2007-08.

“It’s safe to say there’s been a significant increase in homelessness in schools,” said Diana Bowman, director of the National Center for Homeless Education. Her organization, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, provides technical assistance for the federal Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program.

Read the full story here.

Morning Read: Gov Brown vetoes mandatory kindergarten

Brown wraps up ed bills, leaves some heads shaking
Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill that would have made kindergarten mandatory while at the same time signing one intended to show the overwhelming boost that optional year gives kids headed to first grade. S&I Cabinet Report

Bond committee demonstrates how to ask questions about iPads
Opinion: It’s no surprise that the annual standardized tests for students have had some troubling effects on schools as well as positive ones. LA Times

A success story for student and L.A. Unified
Column: The Los Angeles Unified School District typically makes headlines for its screw-ups: child abuse scandals, feuding leaders and technology blunders. LA Times

Business, civic leaders call on L.A. school board to retain John Deasy
Local business and civic leaders are calling on the Los Angeles Board of Education to retain Supt. John Deasy, hoping to head off potential action by a board majority that is unhappy with him. LA Times

Community colleges can offer bachelor’s
More than a dozen community colleges will be able to offer bachelor’s degrees in the next few years under newly signed legislation that opens the door to a shift in the state’s higher education landscape. Edsource

Commentary: Deasy’s impatience eclipsing accomplishments?

Logo_LATimesVia LA Times | by Jim Newton

There’s a storm cloud gathering over Los Angeles politics these days, and the man at its center is schools Supt. John Deasy.

In office since 2010, Deasy has fenced with his bosses, the seven-member school board, almost from the get-go. Lately, however, the situation has deteriorated: United Teachers Los Angeles, the union that represents teachers in the L.A. Unified School District, has sharpened its critique of the superintendent, calling for him to be held “accountable” in his upcoming evaluation. A recent election to fill a vacancy on the closely divided board went to the candidate, George McKenna, considered less friendly to Deasy.

Deasy has made matters worse by some admittedly sloppy handling of a deal intended to put iPads in the hands of students. The board is scheduled to deliver its performance evaluation of Deasy next month, and that could turn into a major confrontation.

Read the full commentary here.

Morning Read: LA County ed board to revoke group’s charter

L.A. County education officials seek to revoke group’s charter
The Los Angeles County Board of Education has notified a South LA charter school organization that it intends to revoke its charter after a state audit found that administrators funneled millions in state funds to the schools’ founder and former director. LA Times

Schools challenged by mandate to support homeless students
Nearly 300,000 children in California—more than in any other state— are homeless, or live in cars, garages or crammed into single rooms with their entire families. More than half of those children are younger than 10 years old. California Health Report

New law limits student discipline measure
Fewer than 11,000 of California’s 6.2 million students will likely be affected each year by a new law that limits the use of “willful defiance” as a reason to expel or suspend students. EdSource

Adding a civics lesson to Nov. 4 election events
With a general election on the horizon, top voter and education officials are urging public school administrators to use the event as a teachable civics moment for their students. S&I Cabinet Report

Diversity in preschools: Does teacher race or quality matter more?
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Eric Gavica’s roots trace back to Sonora, Mexico, where his grandfather served as “Jefe Pluma Blanca de los Indios Yaquis, an Indian chief.” KPCC

Morning Read: Bond panel gives thumbs down to new computers

L.A. Unified oversight panel rejects $42 million for computers
The Los Angeles school district’s bond oversight panel rejected a move Thursday by officials to spend an additional $42 million on new computers. LA Times

Crenshaw principal says teachers’ dismissals not tied to union activity
The principal of Crenshaw High School testified in a hearing Thursday that 12 former teachers who allege they were targeted and removed because of their union activism were let go from the campus for a variety of other reasons. LA TImes

LAUSD knew of misconduct by Miramonte teacher in 1983, records show
The Los Angeles Unified School District had received complaints of inappropriate behavior by a Miramonte Elementary School teacher nearly three decades before he was arrested. LA Times

Marshall Tuck hedges on Proposition 30 school funding extension
State schools chief challenger Marshall Tuck would be open to extending Proposition 30, the temporary school funding tax hike passed by California voters in 2012, but only if it’s tied to other changes to the state’s public education system. Sac Bee

New tool for evaluating school climate
A biennial state survey of junior high students and teachers can serve as a valid indicator of middle school climate, according to new federal analysis released this week. S&I Cabinet Report

Morning Read: Common Core tests shaped by crowd-sourcing

Volunteers can help frame Common Core tests
Teachers and others from California have until Friday to sign up for a crowd-sourcing exercise that will help determine how questions will be scored on the new Common Core tests students will take next spring. Edsource

L.A. school board to meet Tuesday; likely to discuss Deasy’s future
The Los Angeles Unified School District has tentatively scheduled a special closed-door session for Tuesday, during which the future of Supt. John Deasy is likely to be discussed. LA Times

Kanye West talking to fashion students at LA Trade Technical College
Superstar entertainer Kanye West has been making some unannounced visits to Los Angeles Trade Technical College, where the rapper talked with students as part of his community service sentence. KPCC

San Jose State department abuse of public funds found in state audit
A critical California State University audit has found that the former head of a San Jose State academic department misused campus funds, used an illicit off-campus bank account and engaged in conflicts of interest. San Jose Mercury

San Diego Unified Sees Large Increase In Number Of Homeless Students
About 1,500 children were cared for at St. Vincent de Paul Village last year, and about 40 percent were younger than 5, a spokesman for the charity announced Wednesday. KPBS

Teacher who talked of killer robots resigns, gets $92,000 settlement
A San Diego County teacher resigned after being investigated for talking in class about programming robots to shoot and kill students. LA Daily News

Morning Read: Charter boundary restrictions struck down by Gov

Brown shoots down charter boundary restriction
An attempt by the Legislature to limit a charter school’s ability to locate outside the borders of its authorizing school district has been struck down by Gov. Jerry Brown. S&I Cabinet Report

Newport schools considering ‘snow days’ during heat waves
After an oppressive heat wave left students sweltering in classrooms without air conditioning, a school district in coastal Orange County is considering shortening school days when temperatures climb to intolerable levels. LA TImes

LA schools data system concerns raised after port fire, transcript problems
Citing Tuesday’s evacuation of George De La Torre Jr. Elementary School following the Port of Los Angeles fire, school officials voiced concerns that a glitchy data system may hinder tracking students in an emergency. KPCC

California public pension fund shifts to clean energy
The California State Teachers’ Retirement System is the second-largest public pension fund in the U.S., managing nearly $200 billion.  NPR

In Colorado, a student counterprotest to an anti-protest curriculum
On Tuesday, hundreds of students from high schools across the Jefferson County school district streamed out waving signs and championing the value of learning about the fractious and tumultuous chapters of American history. NY Times

LIVESTREAM of the Curriculum and Instruction meeting today

livestreamGrafix250The LAUSD Curriculum and Instruction committee will meet today at 4:00 p.m. In addition to a variety of items on the agenda and in the supporting committee materials, an update on the MiSiS project will be presented.

For the meeting agenda, click here.

There are five supporting materials for the meeting: California Emerging Technology fund – click here, and here; Summer Program – click here; Comcast documents – click here; TImes editorial – click here.

For the LIVESTREAM, click here.

Morning Read: Deasy faces board review as controversies abound

Amid controversies, school board to weigh superintendent’s performance
After weathering a solid year of criticism for his controversial iPad program, taking a high-profile position in a case against teacher tenure and now dealing with the fallout of an irksome new attendance system, LAUSD superintendent John Deasy is about face the school board for his an annual review. KPCC

Report focuses attention on English learners
As accountability for student progress in California becomes more local, a new report focuses on how school districts can better educate their English learners. Edsource

Charter school movement must focus on excellence
Opinion: When the California Charter Schools Association released our first “Portrait of the Movement” report in 2011, it revealed a stark picture of uneven performance among the state’s charter schools. Edsource

Financing a hurdle in charters’ hunt for space, says report
Federal, state, and private financing for charter school facilities is not keeping up with demand for the publicly funded but largely independent schools. Edweek

Getting beyond one ‘right way’ of K-12 reform
Opinion: Why don’t we get education changing the way successful systems change? This means that we keep working to improve the schools we have, but don’t bet all our chips there. Edweek

Morning Read: Teacher dismissal bill may further muddy process

Teacher dismissal bill may add complexity not simplify
Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation in late June with the goal of expediting the process of dismissing teachers for egregious misconduct, but some experts say AB 215 will only further muddy up an already difficult and costly process. S&I Cabinet Report

Officials optimistic about spring assessments
Last spring more than 3 million students in California, the largest number ever to take an online test in the state, took field tests of new assessments aligned to the Common Core state standards without major technical breakdowns or system crashes. Edsource

Child-Care, research bills make Congressional short list
As the curtain begins to close on the 113th Congress, lawmakers showcased a brief burst of bipartisanship to push forward on two education measures that had been languishing in the legislative pipeline. Edweek

San Diego school district will get rid of armored vehicle
Yielding to residents’ concerns, the San Diego Unified School District says it’s returning the 18-ton MRAP, or mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle, that its police department recently acquired from the Department of Defense’s surplus equipment program. NPR

LAUSD 10th graders hold steady on state high school exit exams

LAUSD high school exit examsThe state today released the latest California High School Exit Examination results, and the news for LA Unified is either encouraging or disappointing, depending on your point of view.

The percentage of district 10th-grade students who passed the on their first attempt, remained at near-historical highs, according to state figures showing that 68 percent of District 10th graders passed both the English Language Arts and mathematics portions of the exam in 2013-2014.

That compares with 69 percent from a year earlier, an all-time high, and with 44 percent in 2003-04, the year the exam was first given statewide.

“We held mostly steady for the year, but when you look at the historical trends, we’re making great progress in preparing our sophomores and other students for graduation,” Superintendent John Deasy said in a statement. “There’s no doubt that we have more work to do in serving our historically-underserved students, and we are committed to doing so.”

Overall, 78 percent of sophomores passed the English Language Arts portion of the test, and 79 percent passed the mathematics part, recording a 1-percentage point increase in both subjects from the previous year.

The results in English Language Arts for 10th graders compared with 71 percent in 2008-2009. In mathematics, L.A. Unified students have shown a similar pattern of growth.

The rate of 11th graders who passed both exams rose this year by one percentage point, to 80 percent from a year ago. Among seniors, 87 percent passed, a decline of 1 percentage point from the previous year.

Schools with the highest percentage point gain in 10th graders’ pass rates

                                                     May 2013  May 2014    1-Year Change

Marquez Senior High                        55%           72%              17%

R.F. Kennedy Senior High Arts         63%            79%              16% 

Jefferson Senior High                       49%            62%              13%

RFK UCLA Community School         60%            73%              13%

Rivera Learning Center                     52%            65%              13%

Torres Humanities/Arts/Tech            50%            63%              13%

Legacy Senior High                           61%            73%              12%

Chavez Language Arts                      49%            61%              12%

Rivera Learning Com & Tech             51%            63%              12%

Carson Academy of Med Arts           79%            90%               11%

RFK Ambassador Global                   51%           61%                10%

Morning Read: LAUSD pays out to settle software vendor lawsuit

L.A. Unified settles suit with student data software vendor
The Los Angeles Unified School District paid $3.75 million Thursday to settle a lawsuit with the vendor of a software system designed to track attendance, grades, schedules and other student data, officials said. LA Times

L.A. school district will double staff helping with iPad rollout
In response to problems with providing iPads to all students, teachers and campus administrators, the Los Angeles school system will double the number of people who will help with technical and instructional issues. LA Times

Report critical of charter school oversight
A lack of oversight of the nation’s charter schools has led to too many cases of fraud and abuse and too little attention to equity, according to a new report that offers recommendations to remedy the situation. EdSource

Brown shoots down history curriculum update
Gov. Jerry Brown rejected legislation Thursday that would have required the state to complete a full revision of its history and social studies curriculum standards by July, 2018. S&I Cabinet Report

A simple fix for L.A.’s voter turnout problem
Editorial: When fewer than 1 in 4 registered Los Angeles voters bothered to cast a ballot for a new mayor last year, it set off a round of soul-searching among city officials and political experts. LA TImes

Editorial: Pre-Deasy days weren’t as great as you thought

Logo_LATimesVia LA Times | by the TImes Editorial Board

At L.A. Unified, tensions are high and crisis is in the air. The relationship between Supt. John Deasy and the school board that oversees him is at what is perhaps an all-time low. Deasy is again muttering about quitting; others are grumbling that he should be fired.

Not surprisingly, United Teachers Los Angeles, the teachers union, is practically giddy. The union has regularly lambasted the superintendent, calling his performance “anything but satisfactory,” suggesting he be placed in “teacher jail” like a teacher accused of misconduct would be, and making it clear that it would like him to resign. If Deasy resigns, the leadership no doubt figures, it can go back to the good-old days.

Read the full story here.

Morning Read: New report says iPad curriculum rarely used

New report on L.A. Unified’s iPads reflects problems with curriculum
An evaluation of the iPads-for-all project in Los Angeles schools found that only 1 of 245 classrooms surveyed even used the costly curriculum. LA Times

More than 100,000 LA school repairs backlogged
Los Angeles Unified schools are waiting on 116,000 maintenance and safety problems reported since January, records show, and officials said they don’t have the staff or money to fix them all. KPCC

CTA backs Torlakson with big contribution as race tightens
Flush with $150,000 in new support from teacher organizations, state schools chief Tom Torlakson was still forced on the defensive by challenger Marshall Tuck at a candidate forum Wednesday night. S&I Cabinet Report

Fate of high school exit exam undecided
While the state’s standardized testing program is being revamped during the transition to the new Common Core State Standards, the fate of the high school exit exam – the one test students must pass – remains murky. Edsource

Deasy, LAUSD board must decide if they can work together
Editorial: A year after John Deasy threatened to resign, the Los Angeles Unified School District’s superintendent and its board are back at a dangerous crossroads. LA Daily News

Morning Read: Lawsuit challenges CTA’s power over dues

Lawsuit challenges teachers’ compulsory dues
A lawsuit working its way through the courts is striking at the core of the CTA’s power: its authority to automatically deduct hundreds of millions of dollars a year in dues from the paychecks of both members and non-members. Edsource

LAUSD police to give up some weaponry obtained in federal program
Los Angeles Unified school police officials said Tuesday that the department will relinquish some of the military weaponry it acquired through a federal program that furnishes local law enforcement with surplus equipment. LA Times

L.A. Unified students claim walkout over heat; district repairing A/C
As intense heat continued its stranglehold on the Los Angeles area, students from at least one high school said they walked out of class. LA Times

EpiPen, TB testing bills signed into law
Bills scaling back tuberculosis testing for school employees and requiring schools to stock epinephrine auto-injectors were signed into law this week by Gov. Jerry Brown. S&I Cabinet Report

North Hills elementary school at center of latest LAUSD molestation lawsuit
The latest in a series of lawsuits claiming Los Angeles Unified failed to protect children from predators alleges school officials knew a teacher’s aide was under investigation for distributing child pornography. LA Daily News

Editorial: LA Unified schools won’t get better if leaders fight

Logo_LATimesVia LA Times | Editorial Board

This would be a difficult period for Supt. John Deasy and the Los Angeles Unified School District even if he and the school board were intent on working together for the benefit of students. But these aren’t the most cooperative of times, to put it mildly. The questions surrounding the superintendent’s 2012 emails with Apple and Pearson, well before the companies were picked as the winners of the contract to provide thousands of iPads for the district’s students, have further damaged the already tenuous relations between Deasy and the board. Nothing is likely to get better until the matter is resolved by further investigation.

Read the full story

Morning Read: LAUSD wins waiver extension from federal gov

NCLB waiver extended for seven districts
Seven California school districts, including LA Unified, have received a one-year extension of the waivers from the federal government exempting them from key provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act in return for meeting a slew of new requirements mandated by the Obama administration. Edsource

Some LA Unified students wilting in heat waiting for air-conditioning repairs
L.A. Unified says it has air conditioning in all 32,000 school district classrooms, but 2,000 pending service calls have turned the current heat wave into a repair crisis. KPCC

State, districts struggle to support foster youth
California’s bold initiative to provide extra support for foster youth in school is proving difficult for most districts to implement, advocates say. Edsource

Recovery for autism service costs pending
Despite an announcement from federal officials in July that comprehensive autism services for children are covered under Medicaid, special education administrators and school business officers shouldn’t expect to be reimbursed for providing those services just yet. S&I Cabinet Report

David Boies, eyeing education through a civil rights lens
David Boies, the superlawyer who chairs a group that is trying to overturn teacher tenure laws in New York and elsewhere, said Monday that his organization is not looking to take the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court — at least not in the short run. Washington Post

Compare: LAUSD teacher salary competitive with other CA cities

Teacher salary LAUSDThe Los Angeles Unified school district offers competitive teacher salaries compared to other large districts in the state of California. That’s according to the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), a nonprofit which complies data from across the country.

Despite a recent press report indicating LAUSD was below the average, it turns out on many measures, when compared with other urban districts in California, the district appears competitive.

Of course, how to measure (average salaries versus starting salaries) or which districts to include (size versus region) can change the numbers. But here are a few of the findings using the pool surveyed by NCTQ. Click here for a full comparison.

What is the annual salary for a fully certified first year teacher with a bachelor’s degree?


What is the annual salary for a teacher with a master’s degree on the highest step of the salary schedule?
Teacher Pay highest stepQUESTION:
What is the maximum portion of the employee’s health insurance premium paid by the employer?
Teachers fringe benefits



Morning Read: LAUSD owns grenade launchers and M16 rifles

What LAUSD is doing with its military-surplus grenade launchers and assault rifles
Opinion: So how about the curious finding that the Los Angeles Unified School District has taken possession of Pentagon military surplus that included 61 M16 assault rifles, three grenade launchers and a mine-resistant protective vehicle? LA Times

Strained ties cloud future of Deasy, LAUSD
The controversy engulfing Los Angeles Unified’s $1.3-billion technology project has inflamed long-held tensions between the Board of Education and Supt. John Deasy, who is questioning whether he should step down. LA Times

LAUSD’s students need better libraries, not iPads
Op-Ed: While the iPad-for-every-student controversy has gotten much media coverage lately, a long-term problem has gotten very little attention: the lack of equal access to a quality school library. LA Times

Frank Gehry designing new social service campus in Watts
It’s a small coup for the institute, which began working in Watts in 2007 and is best known for the 10 preschool sites it runs in the community. Yet it offers more than just free preschool. KPCC

With Tech Taking Over in Schools, Worries Rise
California is poised to become the first state to comprehensively restrict how such information is exploited by the growing education technology industry. New York Times