Morning Read: CA opposing suit demanding action on schools

State to fight lawsuit by impoverished students
State officials granted the California Department of Education $3.4 million to fight a lawsuit that demands the state fix disruptive conditions in some schools. Ed Source


California schools step up efforts to help ‘long-term’ English learners
A new law requires the state to define and identify a “long-term English learner,” the first effort in the nation to do so. Los Angeles Times


To give their children a better education, parents launch new school
In a unique showing of parent power, Nava College Preparatory Academy opened in the fall. Los Angeles Times


Will LAUSD get an accountability break?
LAUSD is asking state officials for permission to exclude student test scores from school performance ratings. Politico


Turning around schools with low achievement rates never seems to work
One of the goals U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan set in 2009 was to turn 1,000 schools around annually for five years. Washington Post

Morning Read: LCAPs a mixed bag so far, advocacy group finds

Report on LCAPs finds mixed success
An advocacy organization analyzed dozens of school districts’ inaugural improvement plans and found mixed results. Ed Source


Students’ active engagement in music leads to brain gains, study finds
Brain researchers are finding increasing evidence that music is a powerful learning tool. KPCC


An alternative to suspension and expulsion: ‘Circle up!’
One by one, in a room just off the gym floor at Edna Brewer Middle School in Oakland, Calif., seventh-graders go on the interview hot seat. KPCC


Only GPA outranks attendance as a performance indicator
After grades, attendance habits among Chicago middle school students provided the best indicator of later academic performance. SI&A Cabinet Report


Charges dropped against teacher accused of having sex with teens
A longtime San Bernardino educator accused of molesting two teenage boys is beginning to restore her reputation. Los Angeles Times

Morning Read: Some LAUSD students take iPads home

Amid safety concerns, LAUSD students hauling home iPads
Students at Valley Academy of Arts and Sciences in Granda Hills are among the first in LAUSD cleared to tote home their iPads for homework. KPCC


Group seeks oversight of military arms after LAUSD’s arsenal revealed
An advocacy group is calling on LAUSD to create a citizens oversight panel to monitor its military weapons. Los Angeles Daily News


Commentary: For schools, seek justice
Philadelphia represents one of the most vivid examples nationally of what happens when systems fail to fund schools properly. Philadelphia Inquirer


State Leaders Confront Full Plate of K-12 Issues
Issues such as common standards, testing, and school choice are likely to dominate the education policy debate. Education Week


California study finds harm for some in repeating algebra
One of the most often repeated courses in U.S. high schools is algebra. The Hechinger Report

Morning Read: San Francisco adds ethnic studies to high schools

San Francisco to offer ethnic studies at all of its 19 high schools
The San Francisco school board voted unanimously on Tuesday to require all of the city’s 19 public high schools to offer ethnic studies courses. Huffington Post


Districts want to highlight retirees’ costs
The coalition isn’t asking for the state to pick up a bigger share of the expense, recognizing that won’t happen. Ed Source


Funding to expand schools’ high-speed internet
The FCC voted to increase funding to expand the Internet capacity for an additional 40 million students in 100,000 schools nationwide. Ed Source


CA loses out on Obama preschool grants
The Golden State was not among the winners of a large $226 million preschool expansion grant announced Wednesday by President Obama. SI&A Cabinet Report


Teacher: The day I knew for sure I was burned out
I burned out after teaching for five years at a high school in a very low-income neighborhood. Washington Post


LAUSD magnet school employee investigated for ‘alleged misconduct’
Police Thursday were investigating an employee at a nationally ranked LAUSD magnet school. CBS Los Angeles

Morning Read: $2.5 million approved for LAUSD arts ed

LAUSD school board approves $2.5M in spending on arts education
The Los Angeles Unified School District school board on Tuesday approved $2.5 million for arts education. KPCC


Percentage of students held back a grade plunges
The percentage of students held back a grade fell by nearly half from the 2004-2005 school year to 2009-2010, according to a study. Huffington Post


New evaluation of Linked Learning initiative
Linked learning programs hold promise in boosting student engagement, but translate to little improvement on standardized tests, according to a new study. Ed Source


Schools’ discipline for girls differs by race and hue
There is increasing focus on the way discipline and criminal justice issues affect black girls. New York Times


What computer science education can tell us about the future of schools
There’s been a lot of fanfare in recent years around seeding opportunities to boost young people’s computer science skills. Education Next

Morning Read: Bill introduced to expand Pre-K in California

New bill would significantly expand state preschool in California
Another bill proposing to significantly expand state-funded preschool has been introduced in California. The Hechinger Report


LAUSD bans use of antibiotic-treated chickens in school meals
LA Unified joined with five other major school districts Tuesday to announce plans to ban the use of chickens treated with antibiotics in school meals. City News Service


Survey shows difficult path for foster youth
A third of students in foster care at one time were placed in a special education classroom and a third had repeated a grade. Ed Source


LAUSD board orders Supt. Cortines to analyze misconduct incidents
In the wake of the Miramonte Elementary School child abuse scandal, the Los Angeles school district will analyze past incidents of misconduct to determine how to better safeguard students in the future. Los Angeles Times


Seeking coders, tech titans turn to schools
The Hour of Code campaign has stirred unease from some educators concerned about the growing influence of corporations in public schools. Politico

Morning Read: LAUSD’s slow iPad distribution could impact testing

LAUSD students might not be ready for new tests as iPad distribution lags
Los Angeles Unified is rushing to spend $22.2 million to buy iPads and some Chromebooks for students to take new tests. Los Angeles Daily News


High turnover in school district leadership
The state’s largest district is far from the only one in California that is coping with superintendent turnover. Ed Source


L.A. Unified to require ethnic studies for high school graduation
Students in LAUSD will be required for the first time to take ethnic studies classes as part of an effort to encourage stronger cultural understanding. Los Angeles Times


The case for requiring ethnic studies in high school
Commentary: Last month the Los Angeles Unified School District school board decided to require that every high school student take an Ethnic Studies course. The San Francisco school board will vote on a similar proposal today. Cynthia Liu, founder and CEO of K-12 News Network, thinks it’s a good idea. Washington Post


Getting There: Nancy Carlsson-Paige: ‘Dark time’ for education
An interview with public school advocate and mother of actor Matt Damon, Nancy Carlsson-Paige, who has written five books on childhood. Politico

Morning Read: LAUSD needs $11 million more to fix MiSiS

More money needed to fix faulty student records system in L.A. Unified
Los Angeles needs to spend at least $11 million more to deal with problems caused by MiSiS, officials will tell the school board this week. Los Angeles Times


John Phillips: LAUSD and the CTA: Making enablers pay up
Lawsuits can be devastating for local governments and school districts. Orange County Register


Commentary: FBI at the door is just the latest bad news for LAUSD
With three weeks left in December, I’m hesitant to jump the gun and suggest that we’ve seen the last of this year’s troubles for LAUSD. Los Angeles Times


Consortium Begins Common-Core Tests in Some Districts
The first common-core tests designed collaboratively by a group of states are making their debut this month. Education Week


7 Largest US Districts To Teach Computer Science
The seven largest school districts in the U.S. are joining more than 50 others to start offering introductory computer science to all their students. Associated Press

Morning Read: Local Control Funding Formula slowly evolves

California’s K-12 funding overhaul slowly takes root
California has chosen an unusual, lead-from-behind approach that provides more state money to districts. SI&A Cabinet Report


Apple pivoting iPad education strategy to regain its footing
Google Chromebooks outsold Apple iPads in the U.S. education market, but Apple could yet make a come back. Yahoo Finance


Freshman lawmaker brings back pre-school for all
Sacramento Democrat Kevin McCarty wasted no time in the new legislative session taking up a cause that has gained serious momentum. SI&A Cabinet Report


Census offers snapshot of young adults
Today’s young adults are more likely to have a college degree than their peers of 30 years ago, but also are more likely to be unemployed and living in poverty. Ed Source


White House says Native American education in ‘State Of Emergency’
The White House on Wednesday released a report outlining the current state of education for Native American students. Huffington Post

Morning Read: A short history of the LA Unified iPad program

How L.A. Unified got its iPad contract
Was the Los Angeles Unified School District’s $1.3-billion iPads-for-all program handled properly? Los Angeles Times


FBI investigation leaves L.A. iPad initiative in further disarray
Sixteen months later, the Los Angeles Unified School District’s “Common Core Technology Project” is a fragmented, fractured mess. Education Week


LAUSD students hope for iPads, prepare for disappointment
It’s been a roller coaster ride for Los Angeles Unified School District students who were promised iPads that would usher in a new chapter in how they’ll learn. KPCC


California receives more than $4 million in NEA arts funding
California organizations and individuals landed more than $4 million in funding from the National Endowment for the Arts in the latest round of grant awards. KPCC


‘We the Economy’ series brings short films on monetary topics to schools
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and documentarian Morgan Spurlock announced the release of educational materials linked to a series of short films. Education Week

Morning Read: Legal expert says FBI is likely early in iPad probe

FBI visits LAUSD headquarters and leaves with iPad documents
Loyola Law School professor and former federal prosecutor Laurie Levenson said seizing of the LAUSD documents signals the FBI is early in its investigation. KPCC


Impact of teacher preparation rules unclear
The Obama administration last week announced draft regulations to evaluate the effectiveness of more than 2,000 teacher preparation programs nationwide, but how exactly they would apply to California is unclear. Ed Source


Schools teach common-core math to two generations
Schools around the country are holding math nights, sending letters home, and posting videos on their websites to teach parents about the Common Core State Standards. Education Week


Parents sue L.A. County over autistic son’s drowning during field trip
The county was sued Tuesday by the parents of a 16-year-old autistic boy who drowned during a field trip in East Los Angeles last year. City News Service


FBI seizes Los Angeles schools’ iPad documents
Ariel Neuman, a former federal prosecutor, said the government is likely investigating possible fraud involving the contracts. Associated Press

Morning Read: LAUSD sex case prompts bill on age of consent

Los Angeles teacher sex case prompts bill on age of consent
The state’s criminal code says 18 is the age of consent, but in a civil case LA Unified argued that a 14-year-old consented to sex with her teacher. Sacramento Bee


Can collaboration between schools, unions fix failing campuses?
The use of student data in personnel matters has caused major divisions nationally. Los Angeles Times


Districts press to repeal cap on reserves
The CSBA reissued its call for the Legislature to repeal the cap on school districts’ budget reserves, which the association calls fiscally irresponsible. Ed Source


Gloria Romero: LAUSD’s bid to dodge Parent Trigger law fails
The California Senate Legislative Counsel issued an opinion as to whether a district can proclaim itself exempt from the Parent Trigger law. Orange County Register


LA, NY pin down school kids and then say it never happened
All school districts in the country are required to tell the federal government how many times kids have been restrained in their schools. ProPublica

Morning Read: Stanford teams with CTA on Common Core

Stanford teams with teacher union CTA to train for Common Core
Stanford University is joining with CTA to prepare schools for new learning goals that will change the way California students are taught and tested. Los Angeles Times


Sam Walton’s granddaughter has plans to fix public education
Carrie Walton Penner is arguably the most powerful force in the charter school movement. Forbes


Positive discipline gets boost in district plans
Many California school districts appear to be ramping up investments in positive approaches to discipline. Ed Source


Language in Action program helps English learners move forward
The Language in Action program is offered at 59 schools throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District. Los Angeles Times


Mexico vacations for students are almost non-existent now
Recent news reports of violence are discouraging travel to Mexico. KPCC


L.A. Unified to offer students Chromebooks in addition to iPads
Los Angeles school officials want to give schools more choices in equipping students with new computers. Los Angeles Times

Morning Read: LAUSD sex assault court argument under scrutiny

LAUSD expert argues girl with low IQ may suffer less after assault
A psychologist hired by LAUSD testified that a 9-year-old girl’s low IQ provided a “protective factor” from a sexual assault. KPCC


Before LAUSD travel ban, Deasy flew 100k miles last year
Former LA Unified Superintendent John Deasy traveled more than 100,000 miles last school year, equivalent to circling the globe four times. KPCC


Patty Lopez ekes out surprise win over Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra
Political novice Patty Lopez has unseated incumbent Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra in an upset that has stunned the political establishment. Los Angeles Times


Researchers develop admission game
Professors from USC developed a video game called “Mission: Admission” meant to encourage low-income students to attend college. Daily Trojan


12 surprising things that can make you successful
From the month you were born to your comedic timing, the weirdest quirks can affect how successful you’ll ultimately be. Business Insider

Morning Read: LAUSD reevaluates after major sex abuse settlement

Huge settlement in sex abuse case has LAUSD rethinking reforms
The district approved paying the staggering sum of more than $139 million to alleged victims of former Miramonte Elementary teacher Mark Berndt. Los Angeles Times


Ryan Smith: Organizing for equity
Smith, 33, arrived at Ed Trust-West after directing education programs and policy for the United Way of Greater Los Angeles. Ed Source


Recent immigrants enthusiastic about American schools
Education is a top priority among Latinos living in the United States, according to a recent survey. Los Angeles Daily News


States get federal running room on teacher-equity plans
The Obama administration’s plan to help boost the equitable distribution of teachers appears to give states a lot of running room. Education Week


Time-out: schools reconsider recess as a tool for discipline
Concerns over taking recess away from misbehaving students continue to mount. SI&A Cabinet Report

Morning Read: South LA ‘Promise Zone’ application submitted

Coalition submits application for South L.A ‘Promise Zone’ designation
A coalition led by Los Angeles Trade-Technical College finalized an application Thursday seeking to make South Los Angeles a “Promise Zone.” City News Service


Chino Valley Unified target of suit over prayer at board meetings
A local school district is the target of a lawsuit that claims prayer during board meetings violates the First Amendment. CBS Los Angeles


How many K-12 students are illegal immigrants?
How many illegal immigrants are attending K-12 schools in the United States? Washington Post


Federal funds reauthorized to provide child care for low-income families
More federal funds are in the pipeline to help low-income families following President Obama’s signing of the Child Care Development Block Grant reauthorization. KPCC


Is school reform progressive?
At its core, to be “progressive” is to fight for the little guy against powerful forces of self-interest. The Hechinger Report

Morning Read: LAUSD spending $22 million for more iPads

iPad contract resurrected: LAUSD to spend $22 million on tech
LA Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines is planning to spend $22 million in bond money to buy more than 20,000 iPads for standardized tests in the spring. KPCC


Obama’s immigration plan will affect students of undocumented parents
President Barack Obama will announce on Thursday night his plan for executive action on immigration. The Huffington Post


Stock market surge gives big boost to school revenues
The state’s minimum funding guarantee to schools would grow from $63.2 billion in 2014-15 to $74.5 billion by 2019-20 under a revenue forecast. S&I Cabinet Report


Inglewood teachers lash out at schools chief for insensitive remarks
Inglewood Unified School District teachers, staff, and parents blasted schools trustee Don Brann Wednesday night following his remarks that he felt unsafe in the city. KPCC


Obama: U.S. needs to bring schools into 21st century
President Obama called on local school officials Wednesday to help meet his goal of bringing high-speed Internet to virtually every American student. The Huffington Post

Morning Read: Study shows high-poverty schools lose learning time

California students in high-poverty schools lose learning time, study says
California high schools with high-poverty students lose nearly two weeks of learning time, according to a new UCLA study. Los Angeles Times


How strict is too strict?
Hundreds of schools have embraced an uncompromisingly stern approach to educating low-income students of color. The Atlantic


Plaintiff attorney in Vergara in Twin Cities to talk about teacher tenure
Could Minnesota – a state lawmakers routinely skirmish over the issue of teacher tenure – be a state to see a case similar to Vergara? Star Tribune


Number of homeless children increases in Southern California
The number of homeless children across the Golden State rose last year according to results of a national report released Monday. Los Angeles Daily News


Work starts on school performance measures
Work has begun in earnest on a new system for measuring school performance. S&I Cabinet Report

Morning Read: LAUSD board to consider $22.4 million repair bill

LAUSD eyeing more bonds as funds for school repairs dwindle
The school board is scheduled to consider a $22.4 million request to address repairs needed at seven schools. KPCC


Residents Wary of Plans to Convert Old Elementary Schools
Plans to redevelop four Valley elementary school campuses and reopen them as charter schools have received mixed reactions. Post Periodical


Parents lie on school survey to identify as English speakers
California education officials say it’s tough to know how many parents lie on the home language survey. Fox News Latino


New LAUSD chief Ramon Cortines prioritizes school maintenance
LA Unified faces a half-a-billion-dollar price tag for critical maintenance and a backlog of 48,000 requests for repairs. Los Angeles Daily News


Educator says he was left in ‘teacher jail’
Steven J. Lang sued LA Unified this week, seeking punitive damages and costs for civil rights violations. Courthouse News Service


LA groups model of community engagement
Under the Local Control Funding Formula, districts and schools are expected to involve local communities in determining how to spend their funds. Ed Source

Morning Read: State school groups want to postpone API scores

School groups ask to delay API scores
Organizations representing school administrators and school boards say that many districts aren’t ready to appraise schools’ performance with API scores. Ed Source


Universal Studios Hollywood holds 10th annual ‘Day Of Giving’ event
Universal Studios played host to 250 young homeless students who were bused in from over 30 LAUSD elementary and middle schools. CBS Los Angeles


Education secretary checks in on Common Core
Education Secretary Arne Duncan toured a school in San Diego on Thursday to get a firsthand look at the new Common Core academic standards. U-T San Diego


District LCAPs must include student input
Districts must seek student input in developing their Local Control and Accountability Plans under regulations being considered by the State Board of Education. Ed Source


How an El Sereno charter won the right to teach in an indigenous language
Anahuacalmecac International Preparatory High School has been teaching teenagers about their indigenous roots and culture for five years. KPCC