Valley View Elementary turns 100, as will dozens of other LAUSD schools in the next five years
Philip Skarin walked a mile and a half to his little school in the Cahuenga Pass in 1930 from Mulholland Drive when it was just a dirt road. There were 16 students in his class at the school that was called Hollywood Park Elementary and opened in 1917. “I came to school barefoot because we...
By Mike Szymanski | March 24, 2017 4:34 pm
New teacher retention at a record high: LAUSD is keeping 98 percent of its teachers
LA Unified is retaining a record-high 98 percent of its new teachers, according to a report presented Tuesday. But as administrative positions are cut, some are concerned that the district’s support staff for those new teachers will be spread too thin. “You are doing an amazing job with what you have,” school board member Richard Vladovic...
By Mike Szymanski | March 21, 2017 4:39 pm
Report card time for schools: California Dashboard goes live today, but some find it impossible to navigate
A statewide public school rating system is available today, but some find it difficult to understand. Rather than having a simple one-number score, the new California School Dashboard Report uses a series of colors to rate various aspects of each school. Some community groups say that makes it hard for parents to compare schools. Former school board member...
By Mike Szymanski | March 15, 2017 12:39 pm
Q&A on California’s new school rating system that you can start using today
California’s new school accountability report, or Dashboard, was launched Wednesday morning by the state Board of Education, and it’s supposed to more accurately represent the success and progress of California public schools. But it’s in beta-test mode right now, according to the state officials launching the Dashboard. For now, it’s only available in English and Spanish, with...
By Mike Szymanski | March 15, 2017 12:39 pm
Fiscal realignment likely to stave off $1.6 billion LAUSD deficit in three years, CFO reports in her swan song
Giving her final fiscal report at LA Unified, Chief Financial Officer Megan Reilly offered some good news about the budget for the nation’s second-largest school district. The district will be in the black at the end of this school year and next year, she reported to the school board Tuesday, and while a deficit is...
By Mike Szymanski | March 15, 2017 12:36 pm
California ed advocate Bill Lucia on the importance of school board races, local control and closing the achievement gap
Local school boards can be prone to blaming their woes on decisions coming out of Sacramento or saying their hands are tied by the California Board of Education. But the state no longer pulls the strings and local districts wield significant power, a California education advocate says. “The days of micromanaging are gone,” said Bill...
By Mike Szymanski | March 14, 2017 4:08 pm
LAUSD looks at underused real estate to help offset future budget deficit
The second-largest school district in the country is looking at its unused real estate, closed schools and empty spaces as a potential way to offset an upcoming budget deficit. It seems like an easy solution, but LA Unified officials caution it’s not that simple. “If you are going to look at these assets to sell...
By Mike Szymanski | March 13, 2017 5:42 pm
No state taxes for California teachers for a decade. Unique bill seeks to pinch off the poachers
To keep teachers from being poached across state lines and offset a serious teacher shortage, California lawmakers are looking at a first-ever proposal to exempt educators from state taxes for the next decade. While some states have no income tax, the bill would make California the only state in the nation to allow teachers who...
By Mike Szymanski | March 10, 2017 2:51 pm
Parents continue to push for a simple way to evaluate schools as California readies its accountability dashboard
* UPDATE Alexandra Mangia joined about three dozen other parents from Los Angeles to ride a bus overnight to speak in Sacramento about the state’s new way to rate schools. In her one-minute speech Wednesday before the state Board of Education, she talked about how shocked she was to discover how low the test scores...
By Mike Szymanski | March 9, 2017 2:14 pm
Protesters join family of father arrested by ICE agents outside his daughter’s school at rally in downtown LA
More than 100 parents, educators, and students on Monday rallied and chanted outside the Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices in downtown Los Angeles to protest the arrest of a father who was taken from his family outside his daughter’s school. “We’re better than Trump, we deserve better than this, we are not...
By Mike Szymanski | March 6, 2017 8:52 pm