Morning Read: Under pressure from LAUSD, El Camino charter school makes policy changes

Trying to get right with LA Unified, El Camino charter school hands down discipline, policy changes
The board of El Camino Real Charter High School has disciplined at least one employee and enacted a long list of changes to its financial policies amid questions from LA Unified officials about “seemingly exorbitant, personal and … improper” transactions made using school funds. By Kyle Stokes, KPCC

Morning Read: Q&A with Marcia Reed, California’s National Distinguished Principal

California’s National Distinguished Principal Marcia Reed of LAUSD talks about her school’s successes

Marcia Reed, principal of 186th Street Elementary School in Los Angeles Unified, was honored this month as a 2016 National Distinguished Principal by the National Association of Elementary School Principals. The association recognizes one outstanding principal in each of the 50 states each year. Now in her 13th year as principal, Reed was selected by her fellow principals statewide, in part for the academic improvements at her K-5 school. She answers a few questions about her school, known as the “Home of the Wise Owls.” By Michael Janofsky, EdSouce

Morning Read: What happened to the students when City High closed?

When your charter school closes 3 weeks into the year, where do you go? In West LA, you have options

The students were heartbroken, some parents suspected the worst. When the City High School board decided last week to close its independent charter school after 13 months, it left the 120 students scrambling to find a new high school to attend. The school was faced with unsteady enrollment and an electrical fire that ended up being the straw that broke the camel’s back. By Kyle Stokes, KPCC

Morning Read: State releases foster youth test scores for first time, and they’re not good

For the first time, California releases test scores for foster youth

California education officials have separated out the standardized test scores of the state’s foster youth — and advocates now have sobering proof of what they long suspected: These students are learning far less than their peers. In 2014-15, the first year scores of the new, harder state tests were reported, 18.8% of students in the foster care system met or exceeded standards in English/language arts, compared with 44.2% of their non-foster peers statewide. In math, 11.8% of these students reached or beat the benchmarks, compared with 33.8% of non-foster students. By Joy Resmovits, Los Angeles Times  

Morning Read: New agreement will allow LAUSD students to take community college classes at their high schools

LA Unified paves the way for 15,000 students to take community college classes during their high school day

It will be easier for L.A. students to take community college classes for free — while sitting in their high school classrooms. The Los Angeles Unified School District board approved an agreement Tuesday with the Los Angeles Community College District that will let high schools enter partnerships with their local community colleges to offer classes on campus, during the regular school day. The schools hope to serve 15,000 L.A. Unified students a year. By Sonali Kohli, Los Angeles Times

Morning Read: LAUSD board to consider later start for school year

Heat is on L.A. school board over later start for classes
On Tuesday, school board members will work through what, if anything, to do about the Los Angeles Unified School District calendar when they debate whether to change when school is in session, moving the academic year away from the intense heat of August to the somewhat cooler clime of June. By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

Morning Read: Gov. Brown faces decision over charter school accountability bill

Charter school bill calls for accountability
A coalition of state leaders and community groups in California is pushing Gov. Jerry Brown to sign legislation that would step up charter school accountability and financial transparency. Assembly Bill 709, sponsored by Assemblyman Mike Gipson, D-Carson, would require charter schools to more closely report how they spend taxpayer funds. By Maureen Magee, San Diego Union-Tribune

Morning Read: Jill Biden and Mayor Eric Garcetti launch free community-college tuition program

Mayor Eric Garcetti promises free community-college tuition as Jill Biden helps launch initiative 

Speaking in a theater packed with cheering students, Mayor Eric Garcetti reiterated his promise Wednesday to make one year of community college free for eligible high school graduates, beginning next year. Inside the doors of Los Angeles City College’s El Camino Theater, a band played while staff distributed promotional T-shirts to high school and community college students in the audience. Onstage, elected officials congratulated each other on the launch of the plan, L.A. College Promise, and on drawing the attention of their high-profile guest: Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden and a longtime educator. The program held enormous potential, everyone agreed. But five months after the mayor dropped a mention of the free-tuition proposal into his annual State of the City speech, Garcetti had few details to offer. By Anna M. Phillips, Los Angeles Times

Morning Read: Southland school districts say English learners monitoring list is wrong

School districts baffled about why they’re on English learners monitoring list

Days after California and federal officials agreed to improve service to English learners, most of the school districts on the list the state agreed to monitor more closely said they were surprised they were on it. The settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice and the California Department of Education compels the state to, among other things, respond in a “timely and effective manner” to information that schools are not serving English learners, improve online monitoring technology and include charter schools in English learner reviews. By Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, KPCC

Morning Read: Rising waters of climate change about to claim first U.S. school in Alaska

The last days of one Alaska Village, as climate change swallows its first U.S. school
In Dawn Wilson’s classroom, fourth-graders are writing a story about what they would need to survive if their families were forced to quickly leave their homes and relocate upriver. Astutely, her young students tick off the essentials: food, clothing, guns and ammunition. In this remote Yup’ik tribal community on Alaska’s southwest shore, this sort of brainstorming is not an abstract academic exercise. It’s a real-life lesson built around the environmental forces now threatening to upend the already hardscrabble existence of some 400 people for whom hunting is essential to eating. By Mareesa Nicosia, The 74

Morning Read: California settles with feds over services to English learners

Feds say some students went a decade without help learning English. After lawsuit, state pledges new support
Up and down the state, for at least a decade, according to the federal government, tens of thousands of English learners in elementary, middle and high school received no services to help them learn the language and keep up academically while they did, even though the law required that they get it. Under pressure from a lawsuit and federal authorities, California pledged Friday to make sure that all 1.4 million students who are English learners receive special academic help. By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

Morning Read: Trump goes all in on school choice in first major education policy speech

Trump goes all in on school choice in first major education policy speech

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump gave his first major policy address on education at a charter school in Cleveland, saying he would “reprioritize” $20 billion in existing federal spending for school choice. While specifics would be left to each state, block grant funding would favor states that have charter schools and private school choice laws, he said, and money would follow students as they moved among public, private, charter or magnet schools. By Carolyn Phenicie, The 74

Morning Read: Kindergarten readiness gap is shrinking, new study shows

Kindergarten readiness gap between low-income and higher-income students shrinking

Persistent gaps in kindergarten readiness between children from low-income families and their higher-income peers — which have continued as ongoing achievement gaps in later years — appear to be narrowing, new research shows. And in a related finding, another report has concluded that lower-income parents are investing more time and effort in their younger children. By Jeremy Hay, EdSource

Morning Read: Chronic absenteeism is as high in Southland’s suburban and rural areas as its urban

Chronic absenteeism is as high in rural and suburban areas as it is in urban areas

At least 225,000 Southern California public school students miss at least three weeks of class each year which, research suggests, puts them at risk of falling behind in school — if not dropping out altogether. Those students attend schools in 47 districts in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Ventura and western Riverside counties the authors of a new national analysis identified as having notable concentrations of “chronic absenteeism.” By Kyle Stokes, KPCC

Morning Read: State board ready to move forward on school accountability system

State board poised to take new direction in school accountability
After months of drafting, revising and debating how best to measure and improve schools, the State Board of Education this week will adopt key elements of a new and distinct school accountability system. The series of votes on Thursday will meet the Legislature’s Oct. 1 deadline and will mark 2½ years since the state board suspended its simpler predecessor, the Academic Performance Index. The board expects to change components of the system in coming years. By John Fensterwald, EdSource

Morning Read: School readiness gap narrows, surprising researchers

Finally, a disturbing trend in education shows signs of reversal

Despite increasing income inequality and the recession, the school readiness gap has narrorwed, a Stanford professor of poverty and inequality in education has found. From 1998 to 2010, the gap had narrowed — with both poor and wealthy children better prepared for kindergarten and poor students improving their readiness at a faster rate. “It’s not a huge change, but it’s more striking because it’s in the opposite direction than we’d seen,” Sean Reardon said. “It’s an important [piece of] evidence that this trend might be reversing.” By Joy Resmovits, Los Angeles Times

Morning Read: Dozens of charter schools make changes after ACLU report on ‘illegal’ admissions process

Why was it the ACLU, not charter school overseers, who called out ‘illegal’ behaviors? 

Dozens of charter schools have made changes to their websites, enrollment forms or recruiting materials in the month since the ACLU of Southern California alleged that one out of every five charters in California had a discriminatory admissions policy. The report initially identified 253 charter schools that had posted “illegal” admissions guidelines on their websites. But since then, ACLU attorney Victor Leung says his organization has removed more than 50 charters from its list after school staff changed or clarified policies the ACLU termed “plainly exclusionary.” By Kyle Stokes, KPCC 

Morning Read: Extension of ‘district of choice’ law faces opposition

California bill to extend school choice law faces allegations of inequity
The “district of choice” law currently allows about 10,000 students across the state to enroll in 47 participating school districts without seeking the permission of their home districts, which are often loath to let them — and the funding attached to them — go. By Anna M. Phillips, Los Angeles Times

Morning Read: El Camino given one month to address alleged problems

El Camino charter has one month to address alleged shortcomings
A casual observer could be excused for thinking there must be two El Camino high schools in Los Angeles. One, a well-managed, long-running success story that delivers solid and sometimes spectacular academic results. The other, in need of appropriate oversight, with a free-spending principal and loose financial controls. Last week, the L.A. Board of Education focused on the problems portion of the alleged split personality, unanimously approving a “notice of violations” that cites inappropriate spending, poor accounting and violations of public meeting rules. By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

Morning Read: Numbers cruncher shows Los Angeles charter schools outperform traditional schools in latest test scores

Los Angeles charter schools are outperforming traditional schools in math and English
A math teacher at LA Unified’s Luther Burbank Middle School takes the latest CAASPP (California Assessment of Student Progress and Performance) scores and finds charter schools outperformed traditional schools in both math and English. He also lists three schools that serve diverse and poor students that stand out with exceptional scores — two magnets and a charter. By Benjamin Feinberg, Education Post