Morning Read: CA English learners trial commences today

California in lawsuit alleging neglect of English learners
A lawsuit alleging that California public education officials have failed to provide language instruction to tens of thousands of English-language learners across the state goes to trial today (July 31) in Los Angeles Superior Court. EdWeek


LAUSD’s portable pools make the rounds for water safety
The mobile pool is set up on the playground, part of Los Angeles Unified School District’s Beyond the Bell swim program. Up to a dozen portable pools have traveled from one campus to another every summer since 1963. LA Times


Program helps students chart their future
Rome was one of about 240 students from San Francisco Unified School District high schools who participated in the summer program, a partnership between the district and two community nonprofits – Young Community Developers and 100% College Prep Institute. EdSource


Local business, education, nonprofit leaders gather to talk poverty
On Wednesday, local business, education and nonprofit leaders gathered at the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership’s offices in Irwindale to discuss the economic challenges many Southland residents face. LA Daily News


Youth suicide stats prompt call for awareness training
There are over 11,000 suicide attempts by youth in California each year – nearly 30 every day – and about 172 of those results in death. Experts believe these statistics could be lower if school staff were properly trained on how to recognize and deal with suicidal youth. S&I Cabinet Report

Morning Read: LCAP reporting mandate reignites dispute

New dispute opens over LCAP reporting mandate
A festering dispute over how much freedom local officials should have over education spending has reignited, pitting school managers against advocates for low-income families and some key members of the Legislature. S&I Cabinet Report


Bilingual education could make a comeback
After nearly two decades, bilingual education in California could stage a resurgence if the state Senate approves a bill in August that would put the issue on the ballot in November 2016. Edsource


California Attorney General Kamala Harris champions school truancy bills
California’s top law enforcement official, Attorney General Kamala Harris, explained her plans to curb crime by clamping down on school truancy Tuesday in an interview with the editorial board of the Los Angeles News Group, which includes the Daily News. LA Daily News


Lawsuit sets off healthy questions about California kids’ phys ed
Editorial: It may take the courts to decide the merits of a lawsuit claiming that three dozen California school districts have scrimped on physical education. But this much is certain already: The suit is inspiring needed examination of schools’ approaches to this vital part of the curriculum. LA Daily News

Morning Read: LAUSD, teachers at odds over contract talks

Teachers union, LAUSD at odds over bargaining tactics
With just two weeks before school starts, union leaders representing 35,000 teachers have declined Los Angeles Unified’s offer to conduct contract talks on a daily basis. The two sides are divided by about $280 million per year in pay increases and other issues. LA Daily News


Report says new teachers face ‘bumpy path’
A new report concludes that California’s mentoring program for novice teachers, once a national model, has deteriorated due to lack of funding and district commitment, and provides little help for the many new teachers who enter the profession as permanent substitutes or temporary hires. EdSource


California joins states urging student-led voter drives
Seventeen-year-old Jonah Pelter says registering to vote is not something he thinks about a lot, and he’s never been exposed to any kind of on-campus voter registration event in his three years of high school. S&I Cabinet Report


Summer camp disparities widen achievement gap
The stark contrast between the summer activities of the Bay Area’s have and have-not children not only highlights ethnic and class differences but also distinguishes who is likely to succeed — and who may struggle in school and later in life. San Jose Mercury News


Teaching Teaching
Commentary: I’m starting to wonder if we’ve entered some kind of golden age of books about education. First came Paul Tough’s book, “How Children Succeed,” about the importance of developing noncognitive skills in students. It was published in September 2012. NY Times

Morning Read: Lawsuit looms over California PE classes

California schools face lawsuit over physical education classes
Thousands of elementary school teachers have been asked this summer to hold on to their lesson plans as 37 school districts throughout the state seek to show that they are providing students with required exercise. LA Times


The LAUSD board election matters; voters should turn out
Commentary: The bottom line? The next board member for the district will represent roughly 1 million people on questions essential to the future of this region, and yet probably will have garnered the support of only about 20,000 people. LA Times


America’s Classist Education System
Commentary: America’s education system is unequal and unfair. Students who live in wealthy communities have huge advantages that rig the system in their favor. They have more experienced teachers and a much lower student-teacher ratio. Huffington Post


Why Do Americans Stink at Math?

When Akihiko Takahashi was a junior in college in 1978, he was like most of the other students at his university in suburban Tokyo. He had a vague sense of wanting to accomplish something but no clue what that something should be. NY Times

Morning Read: English learner lawsuit gains support from Feds

Feds back English learner lawsuit against state
The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California has found an ally in the U.S. Department of Justice for its lawsuit charging that the state abdicated its obligation to ensure all students classified as English learners get extra instructional services to become fluent in English. EdSource


New tool for navigating federal privacy laws
Hoping to help districts prevent such alarming developments and apply best practices in educational technology, the Washington, D.C. based Consortium for School Networking has released two new resources to help school systems avoid violations of student privacy and vulnerabilities to their data systems. S&I Cabinet Report


Can a 4-year-old learn from online preschool?
Two new companies for online preschool are ABC Mouse and CHALK preschool online. Neither company was willing to share exact metrics on home-use of its online products, but both said their numbers are in the tens of thousands – and growing daily. KPCC


Judge tentatively allows 2 charter schools to keep operating
Two charter schools ordered shut down by L.A. Unified amid questions over their financial management will be allowed to continue operating for now, according to a tentative ruling made public Thursday. LA Times

Morning Read: Judges rule against LAT on teacher IDs

Judges rule against letting public see LAUSD teachers’ performance
The public has no right to know the names of Los Angeles Unified School District teachers in connection with their job performance ratings, according to a court ruling issued Wednesday. LA Times


Gov. Jerry Brown resists unzipping school construction wallet
Commentary: There’s a school construction bond bill that has sailed through the Assembly and five committees with 122 “yes” votes — Democrat and Republican — and not a single “no.” But its chances of passing the Senate and making it to the November state ballot seem slim. LA Times


LAUSD, teachers’ union divided by pay raises, class sizes
Los Angeles Unified administrators and teacher union leaders will enter their first round of contract negotiations this afternoon divided by roughly $280 million per year for pay raises and even further apart on matters that directly affect classrooms. LA Daily News


Unions put teachers on streets — for votes
Teachers unions are struggling to protect their political clout, but as the midterm elections approach, they’re fighting back with their most popular asset: the teachers themselves. Politico


LA schools cutting budget for mental health for special ed students
Next school year, the Los Angeles Unified School District is cutting the budget for psychiatric social workers for special education students by 15 percent, raising fears among the special ed social workers that their numbers will be reduced. KPCC

Morning Read: Charter school in south LA damaged by fire

L.A. charter school gutted by fast-moving blaze
A charter school organization is scrambling to find an alternative location after a fire swept through the campus Tuesday. Animo South Los Angeles Charter High School served 600 students, but school was not in session and officials believe the structure was empty. LA Times


Gloria Romero: Too pretty for education policy?
Opinion: Before you read any further, glance in a mirror. Do you think you’re pretty? If you are female and answer yes, you might not be smart enough to understand education policy, so just stop reading. Sounds incredulous, right? Sounds downright sexist? Absolutely. LA Register


Child immigrants unlikely to flood any one school district
Despite growing concerns that the influx of unaccompanied child immigrants into the U.S. will overwhelm local government services in some communities, social advocates say public schools are not likely to be part of that turmoil. S&I Cabinet Report


Agreement reached on ‘willful defiance’ bill
After several months of negotiations, Gov. Jerry Brown and advocates for less punitive disciplinary policies have compromised on a bill that would limit schools’ ability to suspend or expel students for “willful defiance,” according to Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, who is sponsoring the bill. EdSource


Speech therapy rebooted by use of online resource
Online speech therapy, once less favored than in-person treatment, is becoming a more commonly used resource as districts struggle to find and afford speech-language therapists. PresenceLearning, based out of San Francisco, works with schools across the country providing online speech as well as occupational therapy services for K-12 students. S&I Cabinet Report

Morning Read: New political action committee joins board race

New political action committee forms in L.A. school board race
A new political action committee has formed to influence the outcome of Los Angeles school board races, filling a gap created when a group of civic leaders, which includes former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, decided to sit out next month’s key upcoming election. LA Times


White House honoring LAUSD cafeteria worker who fought for raise
A member of the union bargaining team that negotiated a $15-an-hour wage for Los Angeles Unified School District cafeteria workers, custodians and other school service employees will be honored at the White House today as a “Champion of Change.” Pasadena Stars-News


Setting the record straight on tenure
Opinion: when opponents claim this lawsuit is an attack on teachers and their rights, that argument is more than disingenuous. It is disrespectful to the parents. And it is dead wrong for our kids. It is time to stop seeing due process and due progress as competing goals. Here is the reality. NY Daily News


Six California districts join Obama’s initiative
Six California school districts are among 60 in the nation that are joining President Barack Obama’s initiative, “My Brother’s Keeper,” which supports African-American and Latino boys, beginning in preschool. Edsource


UC Berkeley prof on teacher collaboration, future of LA schools
Teachers in charter and pilot Los Angeles public schools collaborate with and trust each other significantly more than teachers in L.A. Unified’s traditional large public high schools. KPCC

Morning Read: POTUS gains support for minority education

Obama to report widening of initiative for black and Latino boys
President Obama will announce on Monday that 60 of the nation’s largest school districts are joining his initiative to improve the educational futures of young African-American and Hispanic boys, beginning in preschool and extending through high school graduation. NY Times


Beyond the factory model
A foundation-funded experiment is testing whether “blended learning” can personalize instruction in eight Oakland schools. Blended learning combines brick-and-mortar schooling with online education “with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace” of learning. Education Next


New superintendent contract gives a reward for incompetence
Editorial: When José L. Banda takes over as superintendent for the Sacramento City Unified School District on Aug. 1, he will earn an annual salary of $290,000 – a $20,000-a-year raise from his current post running the larger Seattle Public Schools. Sac Bee


Teachers union leader raises strike possibility
The newly elected chief of Los Angeles Unified School District’s teachers union has told members a strike is viable option as the union continues its battle for a 17.6 percent pay raise. LA Register


Charter schools: Audit finds missing, misused funds at LA network
The Los Angeles Unified school district is investigating a network of eight charter schools for misuse of public school funds. An audit showed Magnolia Public Schools used classroom cash to help six non-employees with immigration costs. KPCC

Morning Read: Vergara splits Tuck and Torlakson campaigns

Vergara ruling becomes campaign issue
State Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate Marshall Tuck this week launched a petition calling on his opponent, incumbent Superintendent Tom Torlakson, not to appeal a lawsuit ruling that struck down statutes giving California teachers firing protections and rights to tenure and seniority. EdSource


Charter school integrates ‘deeper learning’
Deeper learning is an education concept that’s received increasing attention in recent years; it’s woven into the Common Core State Standards and is being implemented in a growing number of schools nationwide. In its simplest terms it means just what the name implies: learning that goes beyond rote memorization and the superficial mastery of facts to promote a deeper level of understanding. EdSource


US Department of Justice blasts California’s English learner monitoring
Officials with the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Justice said in a court filing Monday they’re troubled California officials did not act on a 2007 student census that found 20,000 English learner students had received no specialized instruction. KPCC


‘Biliterate’ California high school graduates up 30 percent
A record number of graduating high schoolers achieved an academic standard known as “biliteracy,” jumping from 19,000 students last year to 24,513 in 2014, according to the California Department of Education. Being biliterate is more than being bilingual. KPCC

Morning read: National poll shows public suport for preschool

Poll shows support for public preschool funding
In a new national poll conducted by a bipartisan research team, respondents voiced their strong support for expanding public preschool, echoing other recent surveys on the issue. EdSource


Beverly Hills High School principal files lawsuit against district
The principal of Beverly Hills High School filed a federal lawsuit against the school district Wednesday, alleging that officials routinely ignored his complaints of racial discrimination and retaliated against him through attacks in the media, harassment and by denying job opportunities to him and his family. LA Times


Summer school now a given for high achievers, but it’ll cost them
California state law forbids public schools to charge for classes. To get around that, this and other public school districts – including Manhattan Beach, Arcadia, and San Marino – have set up private foundations to run their summer schools. At Palos Verdes, the foundation charges students $585 per summer school class. KPCC


The invisible cigarette burns
Commentary: New data from the California Department of Public Health found that more than 60% of Californians have experienced at least one form of childhood trauma, and 25% have experienced three or more. Childhood trauma is the largest public health crisis in America, and too few people are talking about it. LA Fund

Morning Read: California schools mislabeling English learners

California ‘English learner’ tests incorrectly label bilingual kids
Arianna Anderson is one of 180,000 students enrolled in the Los Angeles Unified School District’s program for English learners. Over 90 percent of students in the program speak Spanish. Most everyone else speaks Armenian, Korean or Filipino. And Arianna? “I’m not an English learner,” the 9-year-old said with a shrug. KPCC


Better-educated public school kids — for a price
Editorial: It’s laudable when parents do all they can to bolster their children’s education. But they go too far when their foundations, which supposedly exist to help all students in the district, offer for-credit classes only to those students whose parents can afford to pay for them. Public schools shouldn’t play along with a system that gives some students an academic head start over others. LA Times


How Oakland’s public schools are fighting to save black boys
Four years ago, the Oakland Unified School District launched the office of African American Male Achievement (AAMA) – the first and only school district in the country with an office explicitly dedicated to lifting the prospects of black boys. MSNBC


Allegations against ex-teacher at Marlborough School investigated
The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating allegations that a teacher carried out an “inappropriate physical relationship” with a student at one of Los Angeles’ most prestigious private schools. LA Daily News


Teacher union conference concludes with support for tenure laws
Wrapping up its national convention in downtown Los Angeles on Monday, members of one of the nation’s largest teachers’ union turned their attention Monday to tenure laws. The American Federation of Teachers panel featuring educators from out of state shared their personal observations to bolster why current tenure laws work. LA Daily News

Morning Read: Pension fund for CA teachers looking up

CalSTRS reports a big year of earnings
Riding the wave of record high stock prices on Wall Street, the fund providing pension benefits for California teachers and school administrators reported Monday that it earned a return of 18.66 percent on its assets for the year that ended June 30. EdSource


Before buying technology, asking ‘why?’
District leaders and other advocates of personalized learning frequently say that the approach isn’t about technology. But that’s easy for an administrator to say when every child in his or her district has a school-provided computer. EdWeek


Nurses help new moms navigate motherhood
Teaching new mothers the best way to read to their infants is just one of Leal’s many responsibilities as a home visiting nurse. Nurses like Leal offer pregnancy advice, monitor child development and explain parenting techniques to women who are young, low-income, or struggling with domestic abuse. EdSource


Allegations against ex-teacher at Marlborough School investigated
The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating allegations that a teacher carried out an “inappropriate physical relationship” with a student at one of Los Angeles’ most prestigious private schools. Allegations that former Marlborough School English teacher Joe Koetters was involved with a student more than a decade ago surfaced just last week. LA Daily News

Morning Read: Duncan must improve or resign, says AFT

Another teachers union ding for Arne Duncan
The American Federation of Teachers approved a resolution this afternoon calling for Education Secretary Arne Duncan to resign if he does not improve under a plan to be implemented by President Barack Obama. Politico


L.A. teachers union leader Caputo-Pearl links activism to strike
The new leader of the Los Angeles teachers union signaled a more militant stance toward the school district, including the possibility of a strike, at a national teachers union convention held downtown this weekend. LA Times


LAUSD asks judge to OK teacher abuse settlement after family balks
The Los Angeles Unified School District on Friday requested that a judge approve a settlement agreement with the family of a student who alleged that he was molested by a one-time Telfair Elementary School teacher. LA Times


Foster children become focus of California schools
California is embarking on a first-of-its-kind attempt to improve the academic lives of foster youth by giving schools more money to meet their special learning and emotional needs and holding educators and administrators accountable. LA Daily News


Districts continue shift away from zero-tolerance
Showing up late, texting in class and violating the school dress code are all considered minor infractions, but all have led to student out-of-school suspensions or expulsions. S&I Cabinet Report

Teachers union is in town, Vergara front and center

GOP leader asks Brown not to appeal teacher ruling Republican lawmakers on Thursday asked Gov. Jerry Brown to resist union pressure to appeal a Los Angeles judge’s decision striking down tenure and other job protections for California teachers SacBee/AP


Schools’ next test is getting tenure ruling to pay off in class If the ruling stands, the challenge for California will be to craft a system that offers stability to teachers but also gives districts the ability to manage their workforce so that the best teachers reach the students who need them most. LA Times


Teachers union to rally in L.A. against loss of job protections The AFT, at its national convention, will vote on a resolution that condemns the motivation behind Vergara v. California and Harris v. Quinn, in which the Supreme Court limited the right of unions to collect dues from non-members represented by unions. LA Times


What’s on Tap for the 2014 AFT Convention Let’s begin by reviewing why the AFT’s convention has such a different feel from that of its sister union. In comparison to the National Education Association’s annual gathering, the AFT’s convention is a lot less rowdy. There’s less pomp and circumstance. EdWeek


Commentary: Grounding Vergara in the Realities of Teaching in California Whether one supports or opposes the Vergara decision the ruling raises critical issues regarding teaching quality with which California policymakers soon must grapple in order to strengthen the state’s system of teaching and learning. EdWeek


Teachers’ union convention tackles pressing school issues Union delegates from across the nation are converging in downtown Los Angeles this morning to hear California’s governor and school superintendent and education experts speak at the opening day of the American Federation of Teachers convention.Daily News


 

Morning Read: Firing Centinela Superintendent could take a month

Process for firing Centinela Superintendent could take a month
Although the Centinela Valley school board has voted to fire Superintendent Jose Fernandez following an investigation into his excessive pay, the process of terminating the embattled leader could take another month. LA Daily News


California’s top political watchdog agency looking into Inglewood school spending
California’s Fair Political Practices Commission said a KPCC investigation of misuse of public funds and possible violations of election reporting laws by Inglewood school officials has raised red flags. KPCC


Will the LCAP become just another obscure acronym?
Commentary: There is a danger that the Local Control and Accountability Plans recently adopted by every California school district will experience the same unfortunate fate as the School Accountability Report Cards, or SARCs, which all schools are still required to produce each year. Edsource


Why should unions negotiate for workers who don’t pay their fair share?
Op-ed: Requiring unions to offer free representation to workers who do not want a union in the first place makes no sense. Nor does it make sense to have a system in which workers can benefit from union representation without paying their fair share. LA Times


Mystery group sues over school physical education
Two desert school districts have been named in a far-reaching class-action lawsuit over inadequate physical education, but the suit springs from a tight-lipped nonprofit with no apparent past. Desert Sun

Morning Read: Highly paid Centinela Valley superintendent fired

Centinela Valley school board fires embattled Superintendent Jose Fernandez
The Centinela Valley school board Tuesday night voted to fire Superintendent Jose Fernandez, ending a five-month chapter that began with revelations that the leader of the tiny school district might have been among the nation’s best-compensated public servants. The Daily Breeze


Arts education in schools could grow under LCFF
A program that brings painters, dancers, poets and other teaching artists into a number of schools across the state is likely to expand thanks to a one-time $5 million boost to the California Arts Council’s budget – a gift Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled late last month. S&I Cabinet Report


Inglewood school funds were used to attack former school board candidate
Public funds meant to educate Inglewood students were instead used to benefit a board member’s re-election campaign, court testimony and interviews show. The expenditures came as the school district began digging itself into a financial hole that ended with a state takeover. KPCC


LCAP library now open for readers
The LCAP is a three-year plan, updated annually, that lays out how a district will meet the conditions for school improvement and goals for student success that the Legislature set out in creating the new school funding formula. There is now an Internet site that lets you look up hundreds of districts’ Local Control and Accountability Plans – and to add your district’s LCAP to the mix. EdSource


Pension, pay hikes prove costly for LAUSD
Los Angeles Unified will dole out an extra $24.7 million this year to pay for rising employee pension costs after a series of state mandates left school districts largely to fund ailing retirement systems. The lion’s share of LAUSD’s increased cost — $16.3 million — will cover teacher pensions under the freshly passed AB 1469. LA Daily News

Morning Read: School funding reforms helps student grads

School funding reforms spur decisions at local level
California’s new school funding system is driving districts in diverse regions of the state to shift their resources to achieve one of the key goals laid out in the sweeping financial reform effort – graduating students so they are ready for college or careers. EdSource


Schools expanding social media use to reach parents
With plenty of research suggesting that parental involvement in a child’s education increases academic achievement, states are prioritizing the educator-parent relationship and schools are using every tool at their disposal to engage their local communities, with an emphasis on social media platforms. S&I Cabinet Report


What do you call 7 lbs. of campaign mail for 3 voters?
Op-ed: As a voter, I was annoyed by the 7 pounds of mail we received — seriously, I weighed it. But as a campaign strategist who for several decades has run or advised dozens of campaigns, I understood the impulse behind the mailings. LA Times


El Rancho schools don’t wait on state, adopt ethnic-studies curriculum
While some California legislators hope to implement a statewide ethnic-studies curriculum in coming years, one school district has decided not to wait. For students at El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera, ethnic studies are now required. LA Times


FCC Prepares to Vote on E-Rate Overhaul
Schools and libraries hungry for faster and more reliably funded Wi-Fi connections will be watching the July 11 open meeting of the Federal Communications Commission closely. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s long-awaited E-rate modernization plan, which he released in outline form on June 20, will be discussed by commissioners and presumably voted on during the meeting. Edweek

Morning Read: Big questions linger in shadow of Vergara

For Vergara ruling on teachers, big questions loom
Among the lingering questions: Will the ruling, at a slim 16 pages, hold up on appeal? Will California’s notoriously polarized legislature, fearful of additional litigation and bad press, consider changing the statutes at issue on its own? And finally, will similar lawsuits elsewhere—one is already primed for introduction in New York—be as initially successful? Edweek


High school camp hones students’ business, entrepreneurial instincts
Mile Johnson’s plan for the “Next Generation” mobile app took first place and won $1,000 at a business plan competition recently, part of the free Los Angeles BizCamp Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. The summer camp was created by the nonprofit Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship in partnership with the Los Angeles Urban League. LA Times


What we don’t know about summer school
Seven years ago, California slashed its summer school budget and the programs all but disappeared. In LAUSD, the annual allotment went from about $49 million for summer school down to about $800,000. This year, a state ballot initiative has restored summer-school funding and the state has ponied up $38 million for LAUSD.  NPR


Can art help students learn science and other subjects?
Los Angeles Unified School District is looking to expand a teaching method called “arts integration,” which mixes arts instruction with teaching in other subjects and is often used as a way to make the most of arts instruction time with students.  KPCC


Union wins $15 minimum wage for L.A. schools’ service workers
A Los Angeles Unified School District move to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour has thrust the system into the forefront of a national movement and marks another political victory for a powerful labor group — and it’s not the teachers union.  LA Times

MORNING READ: Tuck throws a punch at Torlackson

Challenger to CA schools chief blasts handling of Inglewood Unified takeover
Marshall Tuck, the man who hopes to unseat Tom Torlakson as state superintendent of public instruction on Wednesday decried a legislative committee’s failure to authorize an audit of the state takeover of the troubled Inglewood Unified School District. Daily News


Lawsuit Challenges New York’s Teacher Tenure Laws
Parent Union, an education advocacy group on Thursday threw down the first challenge to New York’s teacher tenure laws in the wake of a landmark court decision in California last month finding such laws there unconstitutional. New York Times 


LAUSD contract leaves some in union unhappy with own leadership
Some members of the largest union for Los Angeles Unified non-teacher employees say union leadership tricked members into approving a contract by falsely claiming they were guaranteed 6.5 percent pay raises. Daily News


Commentary: that ‘ticking time bomb’ school budget prediction was a dud
At Superintendent Cindy Marten’s recent press conference, reporters seemed genuinely surprised that she could present a balanced budget with some good news while filling a shortfall first estimated to be $106 million. Voice of San Diego


Op-Ed Why ethnic studies programs are good for California, and America
Ethnic studies remains virtually absent in K-12 public education nationally, and it is rare even in California, where about three-quarters of students are nonwhite. That could change with Assemblyman Luis Alejo’s recent introduction of AB 1750. LA Times