Morning Read: New L.A. schools chief ‘up to the challenge’

Michelle King talks to 100 community leaders
Speaking at an NAACP reception at First African Methodist Episcopal Church, the new LAUSD superintendent discussed her plans and challenges for the district.
Los Angeles Wave, by Cynthia Gibson

What happens to the $63 million if no one claims California lottery ticket?
Money from unclaimed lottery tickets goes to the schools. The distribution, however, gets a bit more complicated.
Los Angeles Times, by Sonali Kohli

Santa Monica State Senator Ben Allen tackles California teacher shortage
Legislation could provide matching grants to school districts to create training programs, modeled on those that already exist in LA Unified.
Santa Monica Lookout

LA84 Foundation awards $1.3 million in grants for youth sports
LA’s Best will receive $335,000 for after-school programs in 188 elementary schools in LA Unified.
Los Angeles Times, by Eric Sondheimer

Is it time to ditch Tdap as a routinely recommended teen vaccination?
Routine immunization with Tdap did not prevent pertussis outbreaks, according to a new study by Kaiser Permanente.
Forbes, by Tara Haelle

State to begin collecting data on students who are chronically absent
California will begin its first statewide collection of data on students who are chronically absent, a key indicator of academic trouble.
EdSource, by Jane Meredith Adams

Jindal lawsuit against Common Core scrapped by new governor
Although new Gov. John Bel Edwards is against Common Core too, he ended Louisiana’s lawsuit against the Obama administration’s education standards.
Associated Press, by Melinda Deslatte

Morning Read: Audit finds problems with mental health services at CA schools

Troubling audit on mental health services for students
A state audit has revealed problem areas in mental health services at some schools, including reductions in services and, in some cases, a backlog of unspent cash.
Cabinet Report, by Kimberly Beltran

State sends mixed messages on Smarter Balanced test participation
The federal No Child Left Behind law requires states to ensure that 95 percent of all students are tested – both statewide and districtwide.
EdSource, by Theresa Harrington

The real cost of a bomb threat at your kid’s school
The decision made by LAUSD to close its schools in December due to a threat cost the district at least $29 million.
CNBC, by Krysia Lenzo

Nation’s charter schools aren’t growing as fast as once thought
The National Alliance of Public Charter Schools estimates in a new report that 2.9 million children now attend U.S. charter schools. But a closer look at at the numbers shows the growth rate is down.
Washington Post, by Emma Brown

In Oakland, building boys into men
The Oakland Unified School District is trying to to rewrite the pernicious script of racial inequality, underachievement and lack of opportunity for African-American boys.
New York Times, by Patricia Leigh Brown

Putting California first in driving education reform
Just how much say should Washington have over California’s education policies in return for the federal education funds the state receives?
EdSource, by Louis Freedberg

Morning Read: Legislators look for solutions to CA’s teacher shortage

Legislators challenge Sacramento to tackle teacher shortage
Three California lawmakers have introduced a package of bills designed to attract new teachers to the profession.
EdSource, by Louis Freedberg and John Fensterwald

As California faces a dire teacher shortage, should other states worry too?
A new report suggests that California should expand routes to the classroom to fill positions, including recruiting teachers as early as high school.
Hechinger Report, by Jackie Mader

More money buoys California schools, but challenges remain
Up and down California, public schools are enjoying a rapid rise in state funding.
CALmatters, by Judy Lin

Gov. Brown not ready to engage on ‘adequacy
The debate over adequacy in school funding and what it means has raged for decades and led to dozens of lawsuits brought by advocates.
Cabinet Report, by Kimberly Beltran

Students play mind games in National Science Bowl regional competition
More than 100 students from high schools throughout Southern California took part in the competition, which marked its 24th year at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Los Angeles Times, by Ryan Fonseca and Kelly Corrigan

Fire investigated as arson at Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights
The flames began inside trash cans placed around a one-story bungalow being used as a temporary classroom. It was contained to that building and knocked down by 4:15 a.m.
City News Service

Morning Read: Federal waiver releases CA from after-school tutoring mandate

CA schools freed from costly after-school tutoring mandate
California joined more than 40 states granted a waiver by the US Department of Education from sanctions established under No Child Left Behind.
KPCC, by Annie Gilbertson

Results due from new rating system for 6 school districts
The CORE districts in the state, including LAUSD, received a waiver from No Child Left Behind requirements and designed their own formula for how to rate schools.
Fresno Bee, by Mackenzie Mays

New federal law puts spotlight on English learners
The successor law to the No Child Left Behind Act significantly expands states’ obligations to measure the progress of English learners.
EdSource, by John Fensterwald

School funding increases in California don’t buffer from future uncertainties
In 2013, California changed the way it funded schools by adopting what it calls the Local Control Funding Formula.
Cabinet Report, by Alisha Kirby

The Seventy Four, founded by controversial advocate, takes over LA School Report
Critics question the merger while the CEO of The 74 defends its reporting as unbiased.
Los Angeles Times, by Howard Blume

Commentary: Our children are not commodities
Three LA Unified board members reiterate their opposition to the new charter expansion plan and promote the board’s “Excellent Public Education for Every Student” plan.
By Steve Zimmer, Scott Schmerelson and George McKenna

Morning Read: California schools rolling in dough, but ‘scary’ clouds appear on horizon

California schools rolling in dough, but ‘scary’ clouds appear on horizon
Up and down California, school districts that handed out tens of thousands of pink slips in the recession are now buying equipment and scrambling to find qualified teachers.
San Jose Mercury News, by Judy Lin

State says number of students approved to get free lunch is way up
A change in the way California determines which students are eligible for meal programs means far more kids this year will receive free lunch at school.
KPCC, by Adolfo Guzman-Lopez

Obama invites L.A. teen with perfect AP Calculus exam score to White House
Of the 302,531 students across the world who took the AP Calculus AB exam last year, Cedrick was one of only 12 to earn every single point.
Los Angeles Times, by Hailey Branson-Potts

Advocates point to severe shortage of early ed care in LA County
Los Angeles County faces a critical shortage of access to early childcare education that threatens to keep its neediest families in a cycle of poverty.
EdSource, by Fermin Leal

Pondering the future of CTA, Sacramento post-Friedrichs
Deserved or not, the California Teachers Association has a reputation as kingmaker in Sacramento.
Cabinet Report, by Tom Chorneau

Obama: Computer science should be taught as a ‘basic skill’
“In the new economy, computer science isn’t an optional skill — it’s a basic skill, right along with the three ‘Rs,’ ” he said Saturday during his weekly address.
The Hill, by Mark Hensch

Morning Read: Schools within 5 miles of gas leak getting air purifiers

Schools within 5 miles of Aliso Canyon leak will get air purifiers
The largest number of devices, 210, is going to the largest campus in the area, Granada Hills Charter High School.
Los Angeles Times, by Howard Blume

LAUSD Supt Michelle King talks segregation, iPads, and priorities
The new superintendent of the nation’s second-largest district inherits a number of challenges.
Education Dive, by Erin McIntyre

Green Dot Charter Schools founder weighs 2017 challenge to Garcetti
Steve Barr said his exploration of a potential run was driven by frustration over what he described as Garcetti’s hands-off approach to public education.
Los Angeles Times, by Peter Jamison and Howard Blume

Parents getting onboard with immunization mandate
Nearly 93 percent of the 551,123 kindergarten children whose schools reported their status were fully immunized.
Cabinet Report, by Alisha Kirby

Obama’s plan to give free lunches to millions more kids
The pilot program will allow participating states to use Medicaid data to automatically certify students for free and reduced-price school lunches.
Washington Post, by Roberto A. Ferdman

He’s 48, just graduated high school and owes it all to the library
Ron Hagardt is one of 30 L.A. adults who earned a high school diploma through a partnership between Los Angeles Public Library and Career Online High School.
Los Angeles Times, by Sonali Kohli

Morning Read: Will the real Michelle King please stand up?

From L.A. Unified teacher to superintendent: Who is the real Michelle King?
There’s not much recent public evidence by which to evaluate King’s suitability for one of the most important positions in education.
Los Angeles Times, by Howard Blume

Plaintiff in lawsuit updates costs of inadequate funding
The school boards association argues in a new report that California would have to spend between $22 billion and $42 billion more annually for K-12 schools.
EdSource, by John Fensterwald

Even at schools, so much comes down to size and money
In schools, where attendance generates the lion’s share of revenue and correlates with administrator salaries, the two are inseparable. Size equals money.
Modesto Bee, by Nan Austin

Turkey wants Fremont school board to reject charter school
In a bizarre twist, an attorney representing the Turkish government spoke against Magnolia Public Schools at a recent Fremont school board meeting.
San Jose Mercury News, by By Rebecca Parr

Advocates pushing for subgroup accountability
Among the concerns of the advocacy groups is that the rubrics, as currently designed, might diminish the still lagging performance of subgroups.
Cabinet Report, by Tom Chorneau

Spending in nation’s schools falls again, with wide variation across states
The nation’s per-pupil spending on K-12 public schools dropped in 2013 for the third year in a row.
Washington Post, by Emma Brown

Morning Read: LAUSD teen perfect on AP Calculus exam

Lincoln Heights Teen 1 of Only 12 to get perfect AP Calculus exam score
Cedrick Argueta also earned perfect scores on the English and math sections of the ACT college-entrance exam, the district said.
KTLA, by Kennedy Ryan and Kimberly Cheng

Commentary: The Oracle Jerry Brown Weighs in on Prop 30 extension
California awaits the final word on whether the Governor will support sustaining the positive momentum that Prop 30 created.
San Diego Free Press, by Jim Miller

Desegregation since the Coleman Report
This article is part of a new series commemorating the 50th anniversary of James S. Coleman’s groundbreaking report, “Equality of Educational Opportunity.”
Education Next, by Steven Rivkin

The problem with your lottery tickets and school funding
EdBuild, an organization that focuses on ways to pay for public education, says the state’s distribution of lottery money is unfair.
Los Angeles Times, by Sonali Kohli and Joy Resmovits

He built charter school empire — and now faces a felony charge
The San Diego district attorney’s office arraigned Steve Van Zant on Jan. 15 on a felony conflict-of-interest charge.
Los Angeles Times, by Maureen Magee

Can Michelle King save LAUSD?
To those who see L.A. Unified as a troubled morass, King is something of a blank canvas.
L.A. Weekly, by Hillel Aron

Morning Read: CORE districts close to unveiling new rating system

Waiver states could learn from CA’s CORE on ESSA
Building and implementing a new accountability system is perhaps the most challenging mandate imposed on the states by ESSA.
Cabinet Report, by Kimberly Beltran

State to reimburse costs related to Common Core tests
School districts in California may get a new influx of money to reimburse as much as $600 million in estimated costs related to the administration of mandated tests.
EdSource, by Theresa Harrington

Congress puts new spotlight on English learner performance
Under the new law, English learner accountability will be included as part of Title I – the section dedicated to the performance of students – instead of Title III.
Cabinet Report, by Alisha Kirby

Sometimes, teacher turnover is a good thing, study finds
A new study of IMPACT — the controversial D.C. Public Schools teacher evaluation system — suggests that not all turnover is created equal.
Washington Post, by Emma Brown

School threats multiply and get harder to track
The surge leaves school officials struggling to find a balance – determined to keep students safe, but exasperated by a proliferation of almost always bogus threats.
Philadelphia Inquirer

Morning Read: State threatening schools over vaccinations

LAUSD not concerned about state’s threat of penalties
California wants more kids vaccinated and says it will financially penalize schools admitting a high percentage of kindergartners who were overdue for measles vaccine.
KPCC, by Rebecca Plevin

Moving control of schools could save state millions, lawmaker says
One lawmaker thinks the best way to improve your child’s education and save the state money is by moving control of your child’s school from a local district to a county wide district.
KWCH, by Pilar Pedraza

Charter school teammates shooting for greatness off the basketball court
Basketball team charts success stories in widely popular educational program at Sylmar PUC Lakeview Charter.
Los Angeles Times, by Eric Sondheimer

L.A. charter plan needs a healthy district
Advocates of the Los Angeles reform initiative have pivoted away from the original design to convert at least half the district’s schools to charters.
EdWeek, by Charles Taylor Kerchner

Most Utahns uninterested in buying classroom computers for every student
Only about 1 in 3 of those surveyed believe the state should provide individual digital devices.
The Salt Lake City Tribune, by Benjamin Wood


Morning Read: LAUSD has hundreds of open preschool seats

Amid preschool seats shortage, LAUSD has hundreds of openings
There are 400 unfilled Early Transitional Kindergarten spots at district elementary schools.
KPCC, by Deepa Fernandes

New LAUSD Superintendent Michelle King to students: Dream Big
Decades after she walked the halls of Century Park Elementary School, King toured the building and spent some time with the children on Tuesday.
ABC7, by Melissa MacBride

Report urges sustained teacher training to improve science education
Many teachers are not well-prepared to teach the new Next Generation Science Standards, according to new report released Tuesday.
EdSource, by Theresa Harrington

Federal flexibility means cash for school intervention
Buried inside the Every Child Succeeds Act is language giving states an immense new resource for providing assistance and intervention to struggling schools.
Cabinet Report, by Tom Chorneau

DPS seeks injunction against teachers
The district is seeking relief in the Michigan Court of Claims, naming 28 defendants, including two dozen teachers.
Detroit Free Press, by Lori Higgins and Jennifer Dixon

CPS bankruptcy could void teachers contract, give power to judge
Gov. Rauner has threatened Chicago Public Schools with bankruptcy. If the proposal passed the state’s largest school district would make history.
Chicago Sun-Times, by Lauren Fitzpatrick

Morning Read: Many CA districts behind in updating sex ed

New laws require update of school sex ed programs
If the data is accurate, many California districts have work to do to comply with two new laws that significantly alter the content and delivery of sex education.
Cabinet Report, by Kimberly Beltran

Federal officials urged not to step on state’s school reforms
The state board is in the process of designing a school improvement system under parameters that the Legislature set in the 2013 Local Control Funding Formula.
EdSource, by John Fensterwald

Police investigate threats against schools in six states
Tuesday’s threats of violence, which affected dozens of schools in at least six states, were just the latest in a rash of threats against U.S. schools in recent weeks.
Washington Post, by Emma Brown and T. Rees Shapiro

To be young, ‘gifted’ and black, it helps to have a black teacher
A national study finds that black students are about half as likely as white students to be put on a “gifted” track — even when they have comparable test scores.
NPR, by Anya Kamenetz

Teacher protests in Detroit cause schools to close
The district said it has no choice but to close schools when teachers don’t report to work.
Associated Press

Morning Read: Shortage bringing ‘underprepared’ teachers to CA

Report: Schools increasingly turn to ‘underprepared’ teachers to fill vacancies
The report points to numerous studies that it says have found that the use of underprepared or substitute teachers can “harm student achievement.”
EdSource, by Louis Freedberg

Angelenos weigh in on new LAUSD superintendent
We asked Angelenos what they thought of the choice of Michelle King as the new superintendent for Los Angeles Unified.
Los Angeles Times, by Daniela Gerson

Common Core critics differ on whether review process is working
With nearly two dozen states revising the Common Core standards, policymakers are grappling with what role, if any, parents should have.
Hechinger Report, by Emmanuel Felton

A pathway to making career tech work
Ninety percent of students completing Capistrano Unified School District’s dental assistant career education program are hired for jobs right out of high school.
Cabinet Report, by Kimberly Beltran

Debate over sex education rages on
Some parents and conservative activists insist that any school-based sex education emphasize sexual abstinence as the wisest course.
Associated Press, by David Crary

Classroom observations may hurt teachers more than they help, study says
Research indicates that evaluations based on observing teachers in the classroom often fail to meaningfully assess teacher performance.
eSchool News, by Laura Devaney

Morning Read: State charter group sues LAUSD over building funds

Charter school group sues LAUSD in fight for construction money
California Charter School Assn. says that $450 million that’s supposed to go to charter school building is reduced to $224 million, according to the lawsuit.
Los Angeles Times, by Zahira Torres

Editorial: What new L.A. schools chief Michelle King needs to do now
Though she has worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District for 38 years, Michelle King hasn’t had many opportunities to voice a public opinion about its schools, or to lead them in new directions.
Los Angeles Times, by the Editorial Board

Foundation influence in education policy deserves greater scrutiny 
Public discussion, including criticism from groups that aren’t bankrolled by grant makers, is essential to ensure that private giving makes a difference.
Chronicle of Philanthropy, by Frederick M. Hess, Jeffrey Henig and Jenn Hatfield

Afterschool programs teach students tech as LAUSD restructures 
Low-income, minority communities at LAUSD are getting tech instruction through afterschool and weekend programs.
Intersections South LA, by Jordan Holman

State regulators investigate new concerns fro Porter Ranch gas leak
A new report shows the level of toxins released into the air from a massive natural gas leak near Porter Ranch has been seriously underestimated, state regulators said Friday.
CBS News

How much lottery money goes to public schools? 
Does the large pot in the lottery mean a lot more money for the school system?
KABC News, by Anabel Munoz

Morning Read: Suspensions, expulsions fall again in California

Suspensions and expulsions decline as districts adopt alternatives, state says
The number of students expelled and suspended from California schools continued to decline in 2014-15.
EdSource, by Jane Meredith Adams

How one student asked the state to tackle a looming education question
The passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, the replacement of the No Child Left Behind Act, is requiring the state to rethink how it grades schools.
Los Angeles Times, by Joy Resmovits

Education board moves to assert state’s role in school accountability
Members of the State Board of Education expressed optimism that they can create a single system that meshes federal, state and local approaches to school improvement.
EdSource, by John Fensterwald

Netflix chief announces $100 million fund for education
Netflix founder and chief executive Reed Hastings, a longtime supporter of charter schools, is creating a $100 million foundation for education.
Washington Post, by Emma Brown

Some Detroit schools close due to teacher absences
The district reported at least five closings Wednesday, compared with about two dozen on Tuesday and more than 60 on Monday.
Associated Press, by Ed White

Morning Read: Next chapter in LAUSD charter wars

L.A. school board finds unity in opposing charter plan
The Los Angeles Board of Education found common ground by offering its first public opposition to a controversial $490-million charter schools proposal.
Los Angeles Times, by Zahira Torres

Backers amend Prop. 30 initiative to meet governor’s demand
As amended, revenue from continuing Prop. 30 after 2018 would be subject to diversion to the state’s rainy day fund.
EdSource, by John Fensterwald

Mpls. school board rejects Paez for superintendent job
The Minneapolis school district is without a superintendent candidate. In a dramatic reversal, the school board dumped Sergio Paez as its choice to lead the district.
Minneapolis Star-Tribune, by By Alejandra Matos

Website tracks state’s progress in providing adult education
California’s experiment in rethinking adult education can now be monitored through a website created by the Legislative Analyst’s Office.
EdSource, by Susan Frey

Feds remain mostly mum about transition to ESSA
Officials at the U.S. Department of Education conceded Tuesday it might be some time before details about transitioning to the Every Student Succeeds Act can be developed.
Cabinet Report, by Tom Chorneau

An experiment in teacher training
Teacher training programs have new competition from an array of outside-of-academia organizations.
Hechinger Report, by Nichole Dobo

Morning Read: Who is LAUSD’s new leader, Michelle King?

Who is new LA Unified Supt. Michelle King?
If King has had nonconformist ideas about how to run the behemoth system or turn around lagging student achievement, she’s never made them widely known.
Los Angeles Times, by Howard Blume

Brown says it’s time to abandon API to judge schools’ performance
Brown said the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act creates the opportunity to design a “more accurate picture of school performance and progress.”
EdSource, by John Fensterwald

Computers widen the achievement gap in writing, a federal study finds
Low-performing fourth-graders do poorly in writing tests given by computer, but high-performing students do better.
Hechinger Report, by Jill Barshay

Scrutiny raises concerns with Brown’s early learning plan
Offering scant details last week, Brown proposed rolling several sources of money for pre-school and transitional kindergarten into a single block grant.
Cabinet Report, by Kimberly Beltran

New York City’s high school graduation rate tops 70%
As New York State officials met to consider changes to high school graduation requirements, the state announced that the graduation rate inched up last year.
New York Times, by Elizabeth A. Harris

100,000 NYC children face airport-style security screening every day
Crime in the schools has dropped sharply but NYC still requires students at more than 200 schools to take off their shoes and send their belongings through x-ray machines.
Pro Publica, by Cecilia Reyes

Morning Read: LAUSD down to insider, outsider for new leader

L.A. schools insider and an outsider emerge as favorites to lead the district
Attention appears to be focused on two candidates: Deputy Supt. Michelle King, an LAUSD insider, and Kelvin Adams, a superintendent from St. Louis.
Los Angeles Times, by Howard Blume

What students and parents are expecting from the Porter Ranch relocation
When the public school students of the upscale San Fernando Valley community of Porter Ranch return from winter break this week, they’ll be starting in new locations.
Los Angeles Times, by Joy Resmovits and Daniela Gerson

Field turf comes under focus of bill
Senate Bill 47 compels cities and school districts to weigh the option of purchasing a playing surface which uses a substance other than recycled crumb rubber.
Daily Journal, by Austin Walsh

New York stumbles, California advances on Common Core implementation
Unlike heavily Republican states where much of the opposition to the Common Core has emerged, New York and California have much in common.
EdSource, by Louis Freedberg

King: Schooled by loss, ‘saved’ by teachers
The man charged with downsizing the federal role in public schools is a passionate policy geek who says his own teachers saved his life.
Politico, by Caitlin Emma

Morning Read: Is St. Louis superintendent next for LAUSD?

Adams says LA Unified is interested in him for the top post
The superintendent of the St. Louis Public Schools, is on a short list of candidates being considered to head the Los Angeles Unified School District.
St. Louis Business Journal, by Diana Barr

LA school district will be broke by 2020 unless drastic cuts are made
Which has a better long-term fiscal outlook: L.A.’s print newspapers or its school district?
LA Weekly, by Hillel Aron

Brown budget: new approach, but no new funding, for early childhood
The governor’s budget has no new funding for pre-K students, but does propose a new block grant that will give districts more flexibility in how they allocate existing early education funds.
EdSource, by Susan Frey

Video shows teacher’s aide striking special-education student in the face
A teacher’s aide in Antioch, Calif. was arrested Wednesday for felony child abuse after a cellphone video of the woman striking a 9-year-old special-education student made the rounds on social media.
Slate, by Laura Moser

L.A. Unified had three weeks to re-create Porter Ranch classrooms
Re-creating two schools being completed after a massive gas leak near their home schools has caused about 1,100 students to be relocated from Porter Ranch.
Los Angeles Times, by Sonali Kohli

Louisville schools: ‘We’re showing extreme precaution’
The Louisville Metro Police Department Thursday said it received a “vague, anonymous” tip that indicated threats against unspecified educational institutions on Friday.
Louisville Courier-Journal, by Kirsten Clark

Morning Read: Court to hear appeal on CA education funding

Court of appeal finally to hear case charging underfunding of schools
A state court of appeal will hear arguments in two long-delayed lawsuits charging that the state violated children’s constitutional rights by underfunding education.
EdSource, by John Fensterwald

Some districts exempt students in special ed from vaccination law
California has not yet issued guidance on how to apply the vaccination law to special education students.
EdSource, by Jane Meredith Adams

Gov. Jerry Brown declares state of emergency over Porter Ranch gas leak
Brown’s move comes more than two months after the leak was discovered in the company’s Aliso Canyon storage facility.
Los Angeles Daily News, by Gregory J. Wilcox

Walton Foundation puts up $1 billion to boost charters
The foundation has spent more than $1 billion on K-12 education over the past 20 years.
Associated Press, by Kelly P. Kissel

Omaha parent: Proposed sex ed approach ‘rapes children of their innocence’
Omaha Public Schools’ effort to revise sex education standards for the first time in 30 years has revealed deep divides.
Washington Post, by Emma Brown