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

Morning Read: Escalante of ‘Stand and Deliver’ honored with stamp

Late teacher Jaime Escalante among those honored with 2016 stamps
High school math teacher Escalante, a Bolivian immigrant, taught at high-poverty Garfield High School in Los Angeles, building a first-class math program.
Sacramento Bee, by Bill Lindelof


L.A. Unified school board still struggling to name leader
“This is very, very hard work, as it should be,” said school board President Steve Zimmer.
Los Angeles Times, by Howard Blume and Teresa Watanabe


Public preschools attempt to accommodate diverse languages of students
While Spanish is by far the most common language other than English, they enroll children who speak a variety of languages.
EdSource, by Sarah Tully


To stop bullying, get the popular kids on board
Most efforts to end bullying — the PSAs, assemblies and high-level policy discussions — come from adults. But what if students had a say?
Los Angeles Times, by Sonali Kohli


Federal sanctions on failing schools don’t die easy
A key component of the nation’s new education law did away with federal sanctions imposed on schools designated as “failing” as defined by the prior regime.
Cabinet Report, by Tom Chorneau


The sick new “bubble” that could explode urban schools
A charter-school bubble is growing, and it’s young black kids in cities who are most in danger.
Salon, by Jennifer Berkshire

Morning Read: No major education changes expected in Brown’s budget

Few surprises expected for schools in Brown’s new budget
There is a sense around the Capitol that Brown will hit the pause button this year on any major changes.
Cabinet Report, by Tom Chorneau


California’s list of poor schools posted again
Facing a lawsuit threat, the state Department of Education has changed its position on posting a list of low-performing schools.
Sacramento Bee, by Dan Walters


Education Department urges schools to prevent discrimination
The Education Department is urging the nation’s colleges and K-12 schools to guard against harassment and discrimination based on race, religion or national origin.
Washington Post, by Emma Brown


Forbes 30 under 30
Meet the 30 under 30 for education.
Forbes, by Caroline Howard


What happens when instead of suspensions, kids talk out their mistakes?
New Hampshire high school asks students to talk, listen and make amends.
Hechinger Report, by Emily Richmond


What to expect from new education chief John King
The U.S. Department of Education has a new boss, albeit a temporary one.
Marketplace, by Amy Scott

Morning Read: Predictions for 2016 education issues

Commentary: Predictions of what to expect on education horizon in 2016
2016 will be interesting and intense. Here are nine big issues to follow in 2016, with my predictions about whether anything will change during the year.
EdSource, by John Fensterwald


At the 10th largest school system, a violent threat comes every other day
In Fairfax County, the schools receive about 100 threats annually, about one every other day in the academic year.
Washington Post, by T. Rees Shapiro


NYC teachers could see paid parental leave next year
On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he will move to offer city employees six weeks of guaranteed paid parental leave.
Chalkbeat New York


California cities look at subsidized housing to stem teacher shortages
School districts that have long struggled to staff classrooms with teachers are considering buying or building rent-subsidized apartments.
Associated Press, by Lisa Leff


Local waterways serve as science ‘classrooms’
Solano County’s creeks and waterways – the 116,000-acre Suisun Marsh included – have become outdoor classrooms for teaching local students.
Cabinet Report, by Kimberly Beltran


Duncan discusses gun violence in final speech as education secretary
Arne Duncan used his last speech as U.S. Education Secretary to draw attention to violence that claims the lives of thousands of children each year.
Washington Post, by Emma Brown

Morning Read: A teachable moment, Star Wars in the classroom

Star Wars 101: Teachers using the force to teach politics, myths, monsters
In order to amp up student engagement in their classrooms, these teachers aren’t using any Jedi mind tricks. But they are using The Force.
The 74, by Mark Keierleber


Teacher: Why I stopped assigning homework to my third graders
Teacher Lisa Nassar explains first-hand why giving up homework is the best thing to do for her students. She has taught third and fifth grades.
Washington Post, by Valerie Strauss


Glendale board denies charter; petitioners say they will appeal
The Glendale Unified School Board voted unanimously to deny a petition submitted by parents who sought to establish a charter school primarily because of financial issues.
Los Angeles Times, by Kelly Corrigan


Threats shut down 2 Indiana school districts; 2 students arrested
Just two days after a terror threat shut down the Los Angeles Unified School District, two Indiana public school districts were closed Thursday due to online threats.
News 3 Las Vegas


Study tracks the evolution of pro-creationism laws in the U.S.
A researcher used evolutionary biology to show that laws ostensibly aimed at improving science education are firmly rooted in efforts to make classrooms safe for creationism.
Los Angeles Times, by Karen Kaplan

Morning Read: Closures could have been better coordinated, say leaders

Handling of L.A. schools shutdown offers a civics lesson
Garcetti’s seemingly innocuous statement underscored the jurisdictional divisions that marked L.A. government’s response to the threat.
Los Angeles Times, by Peter Jamison and Howard Blume


LAUSD works to close two Porter Ranch schools over gas leak
The Board of Education is scheduled to consider a proposal to relocate students and staff temporarily from Porter Ranch Community School and Castlebay Lane Charter School.
Los Angeles Times, by Howard Blume and Carla Rivera


Students can satisfy college math requirement while in high school
The new course comes as education advocates have criticized the current math placement tests at California’s community colleges and state universities.
EdSource, by Nadra Nittle


Report examines school Internet connectivity state by state
A report has found that more than three-quarters of school districts (77 percent) meet the widely accepted goal of 100 Kbps per student.
THE Journal, by Dian Schaffhauser


Leaving ‘No Child Left Behind’: New law heartens educators
School leaders and teachers are hopeful the new federal education law will offer a truer picture of success.
Associated Press, Carolyn Thompson


Parents complain that LAUSD notified them too late about closings
Repeated calls to the Los Angeles Unified School District office were met with busy tones.
Los Angeles Times, by Stephen Ceasar

Morning Read: Authorities work to track source of LAUSD email threat

The email that shut down LA schools came from an ‘Internet meme sewer’
It’s been traced back to a barebones email server that hosts thousands of accounts.
Huffington Post, by Ryan Grenoble


Parents, teachers grapple to explain Los Angeles school threat
The Los Angeles Unified School District will offer counseling to students when they return to classes on Wednesday, a spokeswoman said.
Reuters, by Lisa Richwine


Commentary: Did Los Angeles overreact to school threat?
Shutting down a city, and engendering anxiety and frustration on a metropolitan scale, now only requires nothing more than an email.
CNN, by Jeff Yang


Chris Christie faults Obama for failing to prevent Los Angeles bomb hoax
Gov. Christie cited the LAUSD bomb threat to make the case that President Obama and Hillary Clinton were mishandling the country’s national security.
Huffington Post, by Igor Bobic


After LAUSD closure, local firms open up to kids
Restaurants offered free lunches to students, museums waived admission fees, and businesses opened their doors to kids as employees woke up to a morning in flux.
Los Angeles Business Journal, by Natalie Schachar


Commentary: Tale of two cities – to close or not to close schools?
In a swipe at L.A., New York City police chief William Bratton said the decision to close the L.A. schools was “a significant overreaction.”
EdSource, by Louis Freedberg

Morning Read: LAUSD to pay $320K in teacher misconduct case

L.A. Unified to pay $320,000 settlement in teacher misconduct case
The district agreed to the settlement this year; it was announced after the conclusion of court proceedings, said attorney Paul Mones, who was co-counsel for the victim.
Los Angeles Times, by Howard Blume


Santa Rosa schools weighing ethnic studies program
Eight school districts throughout the state including Los Angeles have made ethnic studies a graduation requirement, while 10 have made it an elective.
Press Democrat, by Jeremy Hay


Here we go again: ‘Huckleberry Finn’ pulled from high school curriculum
Attempts to censor the book are almost as old as the novel itself. “Huckleberry Finn” was banned by Concord, Mass., librarians after its American release in 1885.
Los Angeles Times, by Michael Schaub


Congress makes school attendance a national priority
The newly-approved federal education law will require Title I schools to report chronic absenteeism broken down by subgroup.
Cabinet Report, by Tom Chorneau


Chicago teachers approve call to strike as contract talks stall
The move clears the way for the union’s second walkout in four years and delivers another pressing political challenge for Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
New York Times, by Julie Bosman

Morning Read: Parents want Valley schools near gas leak relocated

Protesters call for immediate shutdown of Porter Ranch gas field
Parents at a rally called upon the Los Angeles Unified School District to relocate two Porter Ranch elementary schools located just over a mile from a leaking well.
Los Angeles Daily News, by Dana Bartholomew


State grapples with timeline for implementation of new science standards
The Next Generation Science Standards have in many ways been overshadowed by the Common Core.
EdSource, by Theresa Harrington


CA approves tougher teacher training standards to help mainstreaming
The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing will require all future teachers to learn techniques proven to foster the success of students with disabilities.
EdSource, by Jane Meredith Adams


How Congress finally killed No Child Left Behind
This year’s work to rewrite No Child Left Behind, the country’s overarching education law, started the day after the 2014 midterm elections.
Politico, by Maggie Severns


State should revamp education master plan, report says
A new report suggests admission to the most popular campuses is out of reach for all but the most qualified students.
Los Angeles Times, by Carla Rivera


Rapid response unit aims to counter criticisms of Teach for America
The campaign aims to counter attacks on Teach for America’s image, which some people loyal to the program think has been damaged.
Washington Post, by Lyndsey Layton

Morning Read: High school students respond to LA schools chief

Students react to outgoing superintendent Ramon Cortines
The take-away for the high schools students: Don’t trust kids with technology, get us updated textbooks, and improve our schools at the bottom.
Los Angeles Times, by Daniela Gerson


A kids’ coding expert says we’re making computer class way too boring
LA Unified and other districts wanting to require computer science for all grades need to teach it better, says computer expert Mitchel Resnick.
NPR, by Anya Kamenetz


Palo Alto considers name change for school honoring David Starr Jordan
The school is named after Stanford’s founding president and a prominent eugenicist, and some parents think he was racist.
NBC Bay Area, by Ryann Vargas


Parents, worried about winter learning loss? This is for you
Winter break starts on Dec. 21 in the Los Angeles Unified School District. So should parents worry about keeping their children engaged in learning?
Los Angeles Times, by Michelle Maltais


Preschool programs face challenge of teaching English learners
About half of the children in the two largest public preschool programs in California–Head Start and the California State Preschool Program–speak a language other than English at home.
EdSource, by Sarah Tulley


CDC grades American schools on how well they teach sex education
American high schools still need improvement in teaching sex ed, according to a new report card from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Los Angeles Times, by Karen Kaplan


Why Google is winning the race for American schools
Computer makers are selling fewer PCs this year than last, but there’s one area where companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple see growth: in schools.
Fortune, by Kif Leswing

Morning Read: Esquith attorneys fire back, say allegations ‘baseless’

Attorneys for famed teacher Rafe Esquith criticize release of documents
The documents include allegations that Esquith fondled children in the 1970s before he was a teacher, as well as more recent claims of inappropriate behavior.
Los Angeles Times, by Zahira Torres


Cortines criticizes Broad, calls on warring factions to work together 
In a conversation at The Times with columnist Steve Lopez, the LA Unified superintendent also said that he supports offering choices to parents.
Los Angeles Times, by Howard Blume


Commentary: Esquith case still a witch hunt
None of the allegations by the district’s Student Safety Investigation Team have been corroborated by independent investigators.
Washington Post, Jay Mathews


An epidemic of questionable arrests by school police
There is soul-searching in San Bernardino County over campus cops’ tactics and attitudes.
Center for Public Integrity, by Susan Ferriss


Porter Ranch parents want LAUSD to relocate schools because of gas leak
More than 400 parents signed a “Protect Our Kids” petition launched Tuesday night to request the school district find a safe place to teach their children.
Los Angeles Daily News, by Dana Bartholomew


NCLB  replacement could disrupt California’s school rating plans
Even before the bill made it to Obama’s desk, a debate about what the new bill means for California’s schools began to swirl.
Los Angeles Times, by Joy Resmovits

Morning Read: For LAUSD board, the superintendent search continues

L.A. school board to hold second round of interviews for superintendent
The first interview session took place Sunday, and if it is any guide, the public will learn little from these meetings until the board makes its choice.
Los Angeles Times, by Howard Blume


Shortage of substitute teachers prompts East Bay school districts to raise pay
It has become increasingly hard to find substitute teachers as more of them land full-time jobs in education or, increasingly, other professions.
Bay Area News Group, by Sam Richards


SF students may soon get Arabic, Vietnamese lessons
The district, honored last year for its work in providing multiple language pathways, is currently conducting a feasibility study on including the two dialects.
Cabinet Report, by Kimberly Beltran


New York Education Dept. clarifies goals for poor-performing schools
The Department of Education released a list of the education targets that schools in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $400 million School Renewal Program are expected to meet.
New York Times, by Elizabeth A. Harris


Study shows benefits on income integration 
When poor kids mix with richer kids in class, they tend to do better academically, especially in math, according to a new study.
Washington Post, by Emma Brown


CTU to begin 3-day vote on authorizing a teachers strike
If at least 75 percent of union members vote for strike authorization, a future strike would be possible, but not guaranteed.
NBC Chicago, by Colleen Connolly

Morning Read: LAUSD board sees first superintendent candidates

Board starts the superintendent screening process
Except for brief periods to open and close the meeting, the entire session was conducted out of public view, and no announcement was made at the conclusion.
Los Angeles Times, by Howard Blume


Amid national change, Fresno Unified touts rare accountability system
While a national shift in the way public schools are held accountable looms, Fresno Unified officials are confident they already are doing it right.
Fresno Bee, by MacKenzie Mays


Call for school districts to report foster student transfers
A coalition of advocates for foster students is calling for new requirements on districts to report the frequency that foster children change schools.
Cabinet Report, by Tom Chorneau


High-poverty schools often staffed by rotating cast of substitutes
In the troubled schools that serve some of the nation’s neediest children, it is not uncommon for classrooms to churn with substitutes.
Washington Post, by Emma Brown


Ed reform bill provides increased support for early childhood education
The bill makes permanent a grant program for early education.
EdSource, by Susan Frey


Long Beach Unified aims to keep children out of juvenile hall
A Juvenile Day Reporting Center operated by the probation department opened in September.
Los Angeles Daily News, by Sarah Favot

Morning Read: Teaching parents about the importance of breakfast

The benefits of teaching parents the importance of breakfast
New study shows positive effects in helping parents reduce breakfast skipping for their children.
Medical X-Press, By Lauren E. Au


These California districts are measuring schools in a new way
Starting in February, a group of California districts will begin evaluating their schools on more than just test scores.
Los Angeles Times, by Joy Resmovits


Commentary: Hillary Clinton’s bad, anti-charter school argument
Clinton is turning her back on charter schools at a pivotal point in the education reform debate.
Real Clear Education, by Erik Telford


How to talk to your kids about the San Bernardino shootings
Parents struggling to make sense of a traumatizing situation themselves must now help their children cope.
Los Angeles Times, by Sonali Kohli


For a schoolboy with AIDS, a principal opened doors — by opening his arms
John Graziano, a second-grader in 1986, was diagnosed with HIV in a Chicago suburb called Wilmette.
KCRW, by Liyna Anwar


LAUSD working to protect students from leaking gas 
Vivian Ekchian, superintendent of Local District Northwest, spoke to an overflow crowd of 1,500 concerned about students in two nearby schools.
Los Angeles Daily News, by Gregory J. Wilcox

Morning Read: In bipartisan vote, House approves ‘No Child’ rewrite

House leaves ‘No Child’ education law behind
The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bipartisan K-12 education bill.
Washington Post, By Lyndsey Layton


Leaves of absence tighten school labor pool
Teachers taking months-long breaks from schools have steadily increased over the past decade, according to a report to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
Cabinet Report, by Tom Chorneau


Some look Zuckerberg’s gift horse in the mouth
“If I was advising Zuckerberg, I think the question is: Is he searching for a silver-bullet solution?”
Politico, by Caitlyn Emma


No Child’ rewrite would give other states the freedom CA has already claimed
California is already in the process of changing its school accountability system.
Los Angeles Times, by Joy Resmovits


NEA boss apologizes for ‘chronically tarded’ and ‘medically annoying’ kids
The remarks drew stiff rebukes from parents of children with special needs and others in the disability rights community.
Washington Post, by Emma Brown


Why charter school teachers are split on unionization
The UTLA campaign at Alliance comes as education reformers are preparing for a dramatic expansion of charter schools.
LA Weekly, by Gene Maddaus

Morning Read: Possible cell tower near LAUSD school angers parents

Parents upset over cell tower possible being installed near WeHo school
Parents said radiation from the cell tower will have harmful effects on their children.
ABC7, by Mayde Gomez


Judge rules district not liable in arrest of special ed student in drug sting
In 2012, it was called Operation Glasshouse, an undercover drug investigation at three Riverside County high schools that resulted in the arrest of 22 students.
EdSource, by Jane Meredith Adams


Formerly accused Miramonte teacher sues LAUSD
Martin Springer filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, asking that he be paid for the two years he was suspended, plus interest.
City News Service


Gas company to pay for air filters at 2 Porter Ranch schools near leaking well
The filters should block the rotten egg odor that has been settling over the community at times while crews attempt to stop the leak.
Los Angeles Daily News, by Gregory J. Wilcox


Editorial: Finding the sweet spot of reason in evaluating schools and teachers
The pendulum of American public education policy is swinging back, away from the stiff reform agenda of the past decade and a half.
Los Angeles Times Editorial Board

Morning Read: CA helps lead nation away from testing focus

California leads drive to reverse focus on standardized tests
California is on course to have a major impact on reshaping the national discourse – and practice – on this issue.
EdSource, by Louis Freedberg


Who’s afraid of Campbell Brown?
Brown’s new endeavor is all about kickstarting her ambitious plans to reshape the education debate in America.
Weekly Standard, by Mark Hemingway


When a 4-day school week might cost more than it saves
All across the country, districts have tried cutting the fifth day to save money on things like gas for buses, heating and cooling bills, and school lunches.
NPR, by Alexandra Olgin


Molotov cocktails burn Monrovia High; potentially $1 million in damages
Officers arrested a 17-year-old Monrovia High School senior for allegedly throwing Molotov cocktails at the high school and setting it on fire early Monday morning.
Los Angeles Daily News, by Ruby Gonzales


Report: Underfunded school facilities in danger of disrepair
A UC Berkeley report finds California school facilities are underfunded, and that’s putting more stress on the budgets of districts serving low-income students.
Capital Public Radio, by Ben Bradford


A robot that allows girl with cancer to attend school
The school-based robot appears to be a first in Maryland public schools, according to state officials, and it has sparked other interest, too.
Washington Post, by Donna St. George

Morning Read: Study calls for more school construction bonds

Study: State should increase, overhaul school construction bonds
“California must bolster – not recede from – its role in the state-local funding partnership for K-12 school facilities,” concluded the paper.
EdSource, by John Fensterwald


Rethinking ‘ultra-safe’ playgrounds
Playgrounds have drastically changed over the years. Most no longer offer the same sensory and motor challenges as the playgrounds of yesteryear.
Washington Post, by Angela Hanscom


Police: A daily part of school life
People nationwide were disturbed by a video that went viral of a police officer roughly handling a high school student who wouldn’t put away her cellphone in class.
Los Feliz Ledger, by Sheila Lane


Solving the teacher shortage by keeping graduates home
One rural district has engaged a new strategy to encourage its own graduates to become teachers and return to their hometown to live and work.
Cabinet Report, by Kimberly Beltran


School advocates look to extend tax hike on wealthy
A voter initiative aimed at extending temporary personal income tax hikes to fund schools was cleared for circulation last week.
Cabinet Report, by Kimberly Beltran


Same standards, different tests
Could you answer these Common Core test questions?
Hechinger Report, by Sarah Butrymowicz

Morning Read: School district cafeterias phasing out sporks

The venerable spork’s days are numbered as school cafeterias move on
LA Unified is one of the six major school districts that’s doing away with the flimsy plastic fork-spoon combination after 30 years in school cafeterias.
The Washington Post, by Lyndsey Layton


Commentary: Career, tech education must be integrated with academics
The California superintendent of public instruction gave school districts until Nov. 30 to apply for grants to develop career technical education programs.
EdSource, by Gary Hoachlander and Christopher J. Steinhauser


Sex education lessons ignore gay, lesbian relationships, research says
Researchers said teachers almost always depicted young people as heterosexual – despite claiming their lessons were inclusive of sexual diversities.
Independent, by Richard Garner


School districts can reduce suspensions to increase achievement
California has been at the forefront of a national effort to reduce school suspensions and reform the school discipline process.
San Francisco Chronicle


Cuomo, in shift, is said to back reducing test scores’ role in teacher reviews
Facing a parents’ revolt against testing, New York state is poised to change course and reduce the role of test scores in evaluations.
The New York Times, by Kate Taylor


LA County supervisors ask governor to intercede in Porter Ranch gas leak
The governor is brought in over month-long stench that affects two LAUSD schools and the north San Fernando Valley neighborhood.
Los Angeles Daily News, by Sarah Favot

Morning Read: LAUSD announces new arts education funds

New flow of money for arts education heads to LAUSD schools
The Los Angeles Unified School District announced Monday that schools received more than a million dollars in new funding for arts education from the state.
KPCC, by Priska Neely


There’s more to a ‘growth mindset’ than assuming you have it
Stanford University psychology professor Carol Dweck coined the phrase “growth mindset.” Now she’s worried about its misapplication.
EdSource, by John Fensterwald


Former LAUSD teacher to stand trial for alleged sexual contact with boys
Michelle Yeh could face up to nine years in prison if convicted of four counts of statutory rape, four counts of lewd act on a child and other charges.
Los Angeles Daily News, by Larry Altman


Report: US falls behind other nations in the global knowledge economy
Fewer Americans are going to preschool and college compared to other nations.
Hechinger Report, by Jill Barshay


Goodbye, No Child Left Behind
After a long stalemate, a bipartisan team of congressional negotiators has agreed to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
NPR, by Claudio Sanchez


Combating a new surge of teen overdose and drug abuse
More focus on prevention and early intervention is needed to curb soaring drug-related deaths among teens and young adults, according to a new study.
Cabinet Report, by Alisha Kirby