In switch, California school nutrition group opposes healthy lunch rules

Edsource logoBy Jane Meredith Adams

A half a cup of a fruit or vegetable is required in every school lunch served in America, under federal regulations now up for review in Congress, and as far as the California School Nutrition Association is concerned, that requirement needs to go.

In a turn of events that belies California’s position as a national leader in mandating healthier school lunches – as well as the state’s role in growing nearly half of the nation’s fruits and vegetables – the California School Nutrition Association is pressing Congress to weaken the requirement that school lunches include fruits and vegetables, reduced amounts of sodium and more whole grains.

The association is lobbying to make a half cup serving of a fruit or vegetable optional, rather than required. It is also lobbying to stop any further reduction in sodium levels and to halt the increase in “whole grain rich” products, which would require that all breads, tortillas and rice be made with 50 percent whole grain. “We’re looking for flexibility,” said Dena England, president of the California School Nutrition Association, a nonprofit association of 2,000 members from school food service departments and additional food industry members.

Click here for the full story.

Morning Read: Trial begins to decide amont LAUSD owes molested boys

Trial over amount sexually molested boys should get from LAUSD underway
LA Unified should be ordered to pay a large sum to two students who were sexually molested by their teacher while attending a Pacoima elementary school.
City News Service, by Bill Hetherman

Out-of-state billionaires spending in Louisiana board of ed elections
The billionaires helping are Eli Broad, the California-based housing magnate who is now leading an attempt to send half of Los Angeles’s public school students to charter schools.
Washington Post Blog, by Valerie Strauss

Commentary: Preschool for all is no panacea, California
Providing access to preschool for the state’s low-income children may sound like an obviously good idea. But the Preschool for All Act is the wrong way to give kids a boost.
Los Angeles Times, by Katharine B. Stevens

Commentary: Quality preschool will boost California’s children
Yes, quality early education makes a difference, and there is vast research to prove it. Gov. Jerry Brown should sign Assembly Bill 47 to expand preschool in California.
The Sacramento Bee, by Deborah Kong

Cool Kid Rogelio Justo inspiring others with musical talent
Student musician Rogelio Justo is a volunteer and mentor with children at Youth Orchestra Los Angeles.
KABC-TV, by Danny Romero

LAUSD Magnet Programs: Now’s the time to consider
Los Angeles residents have a dazzling array of choices when it comes to Kindergarten through 12th grade education and the deadline is Nov. 13.
Larchmont Buzz, by Elizabeth Fuller


LASR poll: What do you really want in the next LAUSD superintendent?

OPINION.POLL_LA Unified unveiled an online survey this week, asking the public to weigh in on the qualities they would like to see in the next superintendent.

Some of the questions are little obvious and may not yield any enlightening information, as George McKenna pointed out at a recent board meeting. Do you want a superintendent who will “establish a culture of high expectations for all students and personnel”? Who doesn’t?

So here’s our latest poll with options that are a little more blunt and to the point. Over the last few decades the district has had superintendents with all kinds of backgrounds and ideologies that led to varying degrees of success (depending on whom you ask).

What kind of superintendent do you want? Take our poll below and let your voice be heard.



Broad charter plan could wipe out thousands of UTLA jobs


By Howard Blume

If a proposal for a massive expansion of charter schools in Los Angeles moves forward, the casualties probably would include thousands of teachers who currently work in the city’s traditional public schools.

As new charters open, regular schools would face declining enrollment — and would need fewer teachers.

Under the $490-million plan being spearheaded by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, 260 new charters would be opened in the city in eight years. The goal is to more than double the number of students attending these schools, which are independently run and mostly nonunion.

The plan talks about hiring from an expanded Teach For America and other groups that work with young, inexperienced instructors.

Click here for the full story.

Morning Read: LAUSD rehires lawyer dismissed over teen sex case

LAUSD brings back lawyer who said student could consent sex with teacher
The district announced last November that it would sever ties with the attorney, W. Keith Wyatt. It has now rehired his firm for several cases.
Los Angeles Times, by Teresa Watanabe

New law calls for modernized role of school counselors
The law comes as schools and districts not only in California but across the nation struggle to provide even meager access to academic counselors.
Cabinet Report, by Kimberly Beltran

Eli Broad and the end of public education as we know it
If there were still any doubt about Eli Broad’s desire to gut traditional public education, it has been erased.
Capital and Main, by Marc Haefele

Governor signs bill allowing diplomas for students who failed exit exam
Senate Bill 172 will require school districts to award diplomas to students who met every other graduation target but failed the exit exam.
EdSource, by Fermin Leal and Theresa Harrington

Board OKs settlement over principal who hypnotized students
The settlement closes a bizarre, yearslong case that began after a former principal admitted he hypnotized dozens of students. Several committed suicide shortly after.
Sarasota Herald-Tribune, by Shelby Webb

In exit exam limbo: Telesis Radford
If Telesis Radford scored two points higher on the math portion of the California High School Exit Exam, the last nine years of her life may have turned out very differently.
EdSource, by Matt Levin and Tiffany Lew

New sex ed curriculum ‘vaults California into a leadership role’

san francisco chronicle- ogo

By Jill Tucker

California kids will get one of the most rounded educations on sex and sexuality in the country under new legislation that advocates called a victory in providing information that could prevent disease and teen pregnancy as well as sex-based violence and prejudice.

The new mandate ensures that public school students get a comprehensive sex education, offered at least once in middle school and once again in high school. That means teaching about condoms and emergency contraception, abstinence and abortion, sexual consent, gender identity and sexual orientation.

Under the measure signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last week, individual parents can opt out, but schools cannot.

Click here for the full story.

Morning Read: Thousands of retroactive diplomas may be coming

California poised to grant high school diplomas retroactively
The state of California is poised to give between 40,000 and 150,000 diplomas to former students who failed to pass the California High School Exit Exam, or CAHSEE.
EdSource, by Louis Freedberg

Parents of teen killed outside East L.A. middle school sue LAUSD
Steven Cruz was stabbed about 3 p.m. Jan. 23 outside Griffith Middle School just as classes were being dismissed for the day. MyNewsLA, by Hillary Jackson

Report highlights education inequities in nine California cities
The report was released Wednesday by the University of Washington’s Center on Reinventing Public Education.
EdSource, by Theresa Harrington

Updating key things new teachers should know and do
Teaching Performance Expectations, or TPEs, were first developed in 2001 and have been amended from time to time since.
Cabinet Report, by Tom Chorneau

Test scores under Common Core show that ‘proficient’ varies by state
Ohio seems to have taken a page from Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average.
New York Times, by Motoko Rich

California’s Aspire charter network gets a blended-learning boost 
Aspire Public Schools announced last week that the network will expand its blended learning program to 15 of its 38 schools.
Hechinger Report, by Nichole Dobo

French students make video to cheer up LAUSD’s ‘crying kid’

Millions of people around the globe saw the viral sensation of little Andrew Macias, a pre-K student at City Terrace Elementary School, who broke down and cried on live television when asked by a KTLA reporter if he was going to miss his mom on his first day of school.

But have no fear, this tale has a happy ending. Or, at least one that will make you smile.

A group of French eighth-grade students who are learning English saw the video and created their own video to cheer Andrew up, LAUSD Daily reported.

“Don’t cry. School is not horrible,” one of the students says.

The video is attached above.

CA bill would ban concealed weapons on school campuses


By Roxana Kopetman 

As gun-control issues once again grip the nation in the wake of the Oregon community college shooting, California may be poised to ban most concealed weapons on K-12 and college campuses.

State legislators recently passed a bill that would prohibit most people who have a permit for a concealed weapon from bringing that firearm to a school.

“This is our No. 1 top priority bill in California for our 26 chapters,” said Charles Blek, president of the Orange County Brady Campaign Chapter to Prevent Gun Violence.

The bill by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, has been a year in the making. It arrives on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk for consideration as the nation mourns nine victims killed while in their writing class in a Roseburg, Ore., community college last week.

California law prohibits possession of a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school or on a college campus without permission from administrators. There are some exceptions, including one for those who have permits for concealed firearms.

Click here for the full story.

Morning Read: Brown, Duncan were often at odds

Jerry Brown, Arne Duncan had deep, long-standing disagreements
The governor of a solidly Democratic state and a Democratic president’s point man on education were like two ships colliding in a sea of policy disagreements.
EdSource, by John Fensterwald

Girls and boys, the lesson today is how to start your company
As South Bay communities increasingly become a sun-kissed complement to Silicon Valley, startup culture is making its way into some L.A. schools’ curricula, too.
Los Angeles Times, by Sonali Kohli

Fallout from lower test scores challenges some states
If debate over the adoption of the Common Core State Standards has subsided, the new struggle is how to deal with the fallout when student test scores plunge.
Cabinet Report, by Tom Chorneau

Texas mother teaches textbook company a lesson on accuracy
Texas textbooks — and how they address aspects of history, science, politics and other subjects — have been a source of controversy for years.
New York Times, by Manny Fernandez and Christine Hauser

Would any college reject President Obama’s daughter?
Admission decisions rest largely on grades, test scores, extra-curricular activities and “the hook.” What’s the hook? Something that distinguishes you from everybody else.
Washington Post, by Valerie Strauss

Duncan’s departure illustrates national divide over education
Duncan’s announcement on Friday that he plans to step down later this year was greeted by a range of reactions.
Washington Post, by Emma Brown and Lyndsey Layton

NEA endorses Clinton for Democratic presidential nomination

Washington Post logo

By Lyndsey Layton

The National Education Association, the nation’s largest labor union, endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton on Saturday for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

“We recommended Hillary Clinton on the incredible and lengthy track record she has, that is just wrapped around children, working families and education, from preschool to graduate school,” NEA president Lily Eskelsen García said.

Seventy-five percent of the union’s 170-member board backed Clinton.

The nod from the NEA gives Clinton a much-needed boost, after the International Association of Firefighters earlier this week backed away from plans to endorse her.

Click here for the full story.

Morning Read: Delayed test results frustrating parents, educators

Late parent notification of test results frustrates some educators
The California Department of Education said the delays were due in part to a desire to ship all the reports at once. EdSource, by Theresa Harrington 

Obama vs. teachers unions: It’s still on
Unions wanted Obama to fire Arne Duncan. They got John King instead. Politico, by Michael Grunwald

What Arne Duncan did to American education and whether it will last
During his tenure, one of the longest in President Barack Obama’s cabinet, Duncan made a deep mark on U.S. schools. Hechinger Report, by Ariana Skibell

When the incoming Education secretary met former gang members
On a hot day in August, John King arrived in Los Angeles to better understand gangs. LA Times, by Joy Resmovits

How much time should kids spend with screens?
The current recommendation is that parents monitor and limit their children’s screen time, but there’s no magic number. LA Times, by Jessica Roy

‘They don’t allow failure’: In custom classrooms, at-risk students thrive
At a NYC high school, a technique called blended learning replaces a portion of traditional face-to-face instruction with online learning. PBS, by Hari Sreevivasan

An LASR Poll: Tell us what months kids should be in school

OPINION.POLL_LA Unified is gathering public input on six different academic calendars it is considering for the years ahead. However, there have been technical glitches with its phone survey, and it isn’t clear when or if it will be completed.

The stories here at LA School Report about the calendar options have attracted a high level of interest from readers, perhaps because one option is somewhat radical and would limit summer break to four weeks and increase winter break to seven weeks.

With it being such a hot topic, we thought we would ask our readers directly: What months do you think kids should be in school? Take our poll and tell us.

Below are the options being considered. Each includes a one-week Thanksgiving break and a one-week spring break in April. Check back with us next week and we will announce the results.





The ‘reanimation’ of John Deasy, will the next superintendent be a native?

school report buzzUTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl released a 12-minute video on YouTube today in which he asks members to vote for a dues increase.

According to Caputo-Pearl, the union has not updated its dues structure since its inception 45 years ago, which now “literally threatens the future of UTLA.”

In the video, Caputo-Pearl points out that UTLA’s monthly fees are lower than other large teacher unions in the country and lower than most other teacher unions in the state.

The video also includes a humorous reference to former LA Unified Superintendent John Deasy, who resigned a year ago. Deasy and Caputo-Pearl locked horns frequently, but now Deasy is working at the Broad Center, and its affiliated Broad Foundation is currently developing a plan to expand charter schools in the district to include half of all students.

reanimator_1024x1024Caputo-Pearl claims in the video that UTLA has confirmed that Deasy is, in fact, the architect of the plan, which was outlined in a 48-page draft report. Caputo-Pearl calls this the “reanimation” of Deasy. Reanimation? Is that a reference to the 80s cult classic film, “Re-Animator“?

The film is about a doctor who discovers how to bring corpses back from the dead. Using the film as a metaphor, it certainly shows the ironic position Caputo-Pearl finds himself in. He helped chase Deasy out of the district, which he hailed as a “victory” for UTLA. But now Deasy is arguably in a much more powerful position as he allegedly orchestrates a plan that would wipe out half of the jobs of UTLA members.

Continue reading

JUST IN: Ed Secretary Arne Duncan stepping down in December

New York Times logoWASHINGTON — Arne Duncan, the secretary of education and a member of President Obama’s original cabinet, will step down in December after a long tenure in which he repeatedly challenged the nation’s schools to break out of their hidebound ways.

A White House official confirmed Mr. Duncan’s decision to step down and said the president has decided to name John B. King Jr., the deputy secretary of education, to replace Mr. Duncan to lead the Department of Education.

Mr. Obama is expected to formally announce the personnel changes and take questions from reporters Friday afternoon.

Read the full story here

Q&A with Tommy Chang, on leading a school system like a startup

The-Boston-GlobeBy Michael Fitzgerald
What the new Boston superintendent has to say about testing, charter schools, and innovation.

Globe Magazine: You’ve been handing out Atul Gawande’s “Cowboys and Pit Crews” [a 2011 commencement address on why the medical profession needs to be more collaborative]. How is it being received? 

Tommy Chang: When I walk schools, I have heard people use the words “we’re going to act more as pit crews,” so it has been generally very positive. And I know there have been faculty meetings where that article has been used — this notion that nobody is an expert on everything, including doctors, and doctors have to work better as teams.

Have you seen any specific new ideas that have emerged out of this? 

We did a Shark Tank-type of approach where different teams of central office folks shared their prototypes of how to support schools differently and got feedback from parents, administrators, and teachers. Every prototype was criticized, and it was completely disheartening for these senior administrators. But they took all that feedback and they re-prototyped, and that’s how we came up with the “We Room,” a room where we had different divisions that came together to solve problems. Principals in the morning would come and say, “I have an issue with A; I don’t know how to solve it yet.” A team of people solved the problem and reported back. Over the course of two days, we had 170 different dilemmas that were ultimately solved.

Click here for the full story.

Morning Read: Brown approves ‘yes means yes’ for high schools

Governor approves ‘yes means yes’ sexual education for high schools
Jerry Brown approved legislation making California the first state in the nation to bring lessons about sexual consent required at many colleges into high schools. Associated Press, by Lisa Leff

How the Department of Education’s top salaries stack up
New York Department of Education’s top earners are compared to LAUSD and other school districts. NY Chalkbeat, by Geoff Decker

NASA picks STEM partners to get $42M in education cash
The agency selected 27 science organizations, museums and universities to receive a chunk of the $42 million to expand their science program for children of all ages. FedScoop, by Corinne Lestch

Malibu issues command Santa Monica school board attention 
The school board will consider making another tweak to the school district’s agreement with the state Department of Toxic Substances Control. Santa Monica Daily Press, by Jeff Goodman

The story behind the test: Let’s gear up, not give up
Schools simply don’t have adequate resources to make this monumental shift to deeper learning that Common Core demands. Huffington Post, by Ama Nyamekye

LAUSD strives to implement anti-sexting campaign, sex education
Independent charter schools are required only to meet California Department of Education (CDE) standards, which do not require schools to teach sex education. Park LaBrea News, by Jessie Lingenfelter

Judge in Compton Unified case rules trauma can disable students


By Joy Resmovits

Students who have experienced trauma could be eligible for some of the same protections as students with disabilities based on the effects of that trauma, according to a ruling by a federal judge Tuesday.

But the degrees, types and effects of trauma that would trigger such protections have yet to be determined.

The procedural rulings from Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald came in response to a lawsuit filed on behalf of five students and three teachers in the Compton Unified School District that aimed to establish “complex trauma” as a type of disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Click here for the full story.

Morning Read: Case limiting use of teacher union dues is tossed

Suit to limit use of teacher union dues for political purposes is tossed
The teachers involved were fighting for the right to belong to their union without their dues being used against their will for political causes. LA Times, by Howard Blume

Comprehensive sex ed bill among those facing Brown
The bill would make instruction in sex ed mandatory, expand the topics covered and update curriculum on HIV prevention. Cabinet Report, by Kimberly Beltran

District officials want to avoid overreacting to new test results
District leaders said the Smarter Balanced scores set an important baseline to assess future academic growth. EdSource, by Theresa Harrington

California vaccine referendum falls short in internal count
A referendum measure to overturn California’s new vaccine mandate will not go before voters. Sacramento Bee, by Jeremy B. White

Judge orders lawyer to jail for contempt of court in L.A. Unified case
Attorney Luis Carrillo, who has frequently clashed with LA Unified, was found to have willfully disobeyed a court order. LA Times, by Stephen Ceasar

How LA school districts are turning disused land into low-cost housing
LA schools are partnering with developers to build low-cost housing for substitute teachers, bus drivers and maintenance workers. The Guardian, by Nate Berg

Duncan wants to reduce prison population and increase teacher pay

Washington Post logo

By Emma Brown

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Wednesday plans to appeal to the nation’s states and cities to dramatically reduce incarceration for nonviolent crimes, and he is proposing to use the estimated $15 billion in savings to substantially raise teacher pay in high-poverty schools.

Duncan argues that such a move would help persuade strong teachers to work with the students who most need them and would signal that the country cares about educating disadvantaged children.

“I’ve long said great teachers deserve to be paid far more. With a move like this, we’d not just make a bet on education over incarceration, we’d signal the beginning of a long-range effort to pay our nation’s teachers what they are worth,” Duncan plans to say Wednesday afternoon at the National Press Club in Washington, according to a copy of his prepared remarks. “That sort of investment wouldn’t just make teachers and struggling communities feel more valued. It would have ripple effects on our economy and our civic life.”

Click here for the full story.