Morning Read: Federal intervention coming for CA special ed

California special ed to get federal intervention
The U.S. Department of Education said Tuesday that California special education programs need federal intervention, citing the lack of significant academic progress for students with special needs. California is one of three states, along with Texas and Delaware, designated for a one-year program of intervention. EdSource


Lawmakers: Students need 20 minutes to eat
A bill headed for a final vote in the state Senate addresses a problem many kids and parents would like to see resolved: Students not having enough time to eat lunch at school. Twenty minutes, according to the California Department of Education, is considered the minimum “adequate time” to consume a meal once it has been served. S&I Cabinet Report


Erwin Chemerinsky: Scapegoating California teachers
Opinion: Laws providing for job security for teachers are not to blame for educational problems in California or elsewhere. There is little evidence that lessening job protections for teachers would do anything to make education better. In fact, it might make education worse by making teaching a less attractive profession. OC Register


Ben Austin: The Vergara verdict is clear
Opinion: This disparity in educational quality between my daughter’s public school and low-income public schools across California is simply unfair. But because of the groundbreaking decision June 10 in Vergara v. California, that disparity is now unconstitutional. Vergara found that the existing laws on permanent employment and teacher dismissal violate the constitutional rights of California kids to obtain a quality education. OC Register


U.S. students get top scores for sleepiness
While U.S. students often catch flak for their performance on large-scale international assessments, they may be approaching world dominance on one such indicator: sleepiness. Teachers report that student sleepiness limits instruction “some” or “a lot” in 4th grade reading and 4th and 8th grade math and science has consistently exceeded 70 percent. Edweek

Morning Read: Jerry Brown signs teacher pension fund bill

Jerry Brown signs teacher pension fund bill
Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Tuesday to begin paying down an estimated shortfall of more than $74 billion in the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, acting on the last of a raft of budget-related bills ahead of the July 1 start of the next fiscal year. Sac Bee


New York state challenge planned on teacher tenure law
A new advocacy group led by former CNN anchor Campbell Brown is helping parents prepare a challenge to New York’s teacher tenure and seniority laws, contending that they violate children’s constitutional right to a sound basic education by keeping ineffective teachers in classrooms. Wall Street Journal


Staying tenacious on tenure
Editorial: Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu issued a landmark ruling this month in Vergara v. California, holding that California’s extreme job protections for public school teachers violated the state constitution by effectively denying many students access to a quality education. The decision has not stopped the teachers unions, and their allies in the Legislature, from trying to double down on teacher job protection measures. OC Register


Three districts rewrite rules for campus police
Three large school districts in California are rewriting the rules about how and when police should be involved on their campuses, complementing broader efforts to implement less punitive disciplinary practices, and to ensure that police are called as a last resort when disciplining students on campus. EdSource

Morning Read: Toward what end is ‘parent trigger’ moving?

Parent-trigger efforts: At a crossroads? A standstill? A dead end?
Parent-trigger campaigns have spurred changes at six schools in southern California, only one of which involved a full charter school conversion. Every successful parent union had the backing of the Los Angeles-based Parent Revolution, the nonprofit group formed to promote the law, teach parents how to organize into unions and fund their petition campaigns. Hechinger Report


Arts access at LA elementary schools, by the numbers
Ahead of Tuesday’s meeting of the school board’s curriculum committee, Los Angeles Unified administrators have released a new document detailing proposed arts access for its 270,000 elementary students next year. The extensive spreadsheet is the most comprehensive view yet of arts instruction for the 2014-15 school year, the second school year under L.A Unified’s new arts plan. KPCC


Jared Polis: Antiquated laws in education
Commentary: As elected officials, we are tasked with protecting the general welfare, importantly a large part of which is ensuring that our children and generations to come have access to high quality educational opportunities that prepare them to succeed in a modern economy. Unfortunately, antiquated and counterproductive state laws stand in the way of equity and opportunity for our nation’s children. OC Register


Pediatrics Group to Recommend Reading Aloud to Children From Birth
In between dispensing advice on breast-feeding and immunizations, doctors will tell parents to read aloud to their infants from birth, under a new policy that the American Academy of Pediatrics will announce on Tuesday. research shows that many parents do not read to their children as often as researchers and educators think is crucial to the development of pre-literacy skills that help children succeed once they get to school. NY Times

Morning Read: LA program helps foster youths graduate

Program helps L.A. County foster youths become high school grads
A program in Los Angeles County has been aiming to reverse against aspirant graduates living in the foster care system. It began as a pilot program in Supervisor Gloria Molina’s Eastside district in 2008 and expanded countywide two years ago. Under the initiative, a group of social workers tracks the academic progress of foster children and makes sure they stay on the path to graduation. LA Times


Hospital program coaches parents to help alleviate ‘toxic stress’ in babies 
An innovative program run by Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles is trying to head off mental health issues in older children by improving their home lives when they’re babies and toddlers. Through its “early childhood mental health program,” the hospital sends therapists into the homes of hundreds of kids who are showing signs of anxiety, trauma and stress that can pile up causing what experts call “toxic stress.” KPCC


Parents of boy who drowned on school trip file claim against LAUSD
The parents of a high school student with autism who drowned while on a school-sponsored event have filed a claim against the Los Angeles Unified School District, saying the district’s negligence led to their son’s death. The claim, which is considered a precursor to a lawsuit, seeks unspecified monetary damages for future medical care, lost wages and emotional pain and suffering. LA Times


‘Stand your ground’ meets bullies at school
Under current CA district’s policy, students who fight are labeled “mutual combatants” and punished equally, said Jason Fischer, whose initiative led to the creation of a subcommittee to vet a the district’s Code of Conduct and return to the board with recommended changes to some of the regulations, where students will be allowed to defend themselves. S&I Cabinet Report

Morning Read: Charter schools use 100K to oppose bond

Charter schools’ $100,000 opposition helps sink district’s bond measure
Earlier this month, and for the first time, the political arm of the California Charter Schools Association campaigned heavily against a proposed school construction bond in a district that hadn’t agreed to share the proceeds with charter schools. EdSource


One more push for pesticide control on school grounds
The third time may be the charm for a California senator attempting to tighten regulations around the use of harmful pesticides at schools. SB 1405, which has passed out of the Senate and next faces a floor vote in the Assembly, would strengthen the Healthy School Act of 2000. S&I Cabinet Report


Controversial report paints grim picture of teacher education
Amid a national debate about tenure laws that can keep ineffective teachers in the classroom, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), an advocacy group, has turned the spotlight on teacher education programs and the results paint a grim picture. Hechinger Report


LA Fund launches blog to spark schools talk
An organization cofounded by Los Angeles Unified Superintendent John Deasy launched a blog Thursday in the hope of creating a forum for teachers, parents, students, legislators and community members to discuss any and all issues related to education. LA Daily News


Former LAUSD teacher sentenced for sexually abusing 3 students, relative
Former LAUSD teacher Robert Pimentel was sentenced to 12 years in prison Thursday for sexually abusing three students and a female relative. Pimentel, who taught at George De La Torre Jr. Elementary School in Wilmington, pleaded no contest in May to one count of continuous sexual abuse and three counts of performing a lewd act on a child. KCBS Local

Morning Read: Immigrant education key to economy health

Report: Economic prosperity relies on boosting immigrant education
Home to one-quarter of the nation’s immigrants and a top-destination for incoming refugees, California must significantly improve educational outcomes for immigrant youth if the state – and the nation – are to stay economically competitive, according to a new report. EdSource


Appeals tie up teacher misconduct cases
Two years after teacher misconduct scandals rocked Los Angeles Unified and sent a surge of complaints to state regulators, a new spike threatens to degrade the educator oversight system as credential-holders accused mostly of criminal offenses fight to retain their licenses. S&I Cabinet Report


CA lawmakers consider expanding teacher tenure despite court ruling
A union-backed bill in the California legislature to expand tenure protections for public school teachers to other employees stalled on Wednesday amid concern about a court ruling last week that said the practice is unconstitutional and hurts students. Reuters


Aren’t California tenure policies in fact unreasonable?
Commentary: Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu handed down a ruling in Vergara vs California this month tossing out California statutes providing job protections to teachers, siding with plaintiffs who argued that California children who live in low-income families receive an inadequate education because they get weak teachers who can’t be fired. Washington Post


The good teacher-bad teacher debate
Commentary: The full effect of the Vergara v. California decision has yet to be seen, but already it has reignited the old debate about identifying good and bad teachers The facile response is that everyone in a school knows which teachers fall into one category or another. I’d like to explore this assertion. EdWeek

Morning Read: Legislature votes on school bond bill today

State school bond faces critical vote today
With a key committee vote set for today on legislation that would place a $9 billion, statewide school facilities bond on the November ballot, one group backing the proposal is already nearly a third of the way toward reaching its campaign finance goal of $1.6 million. The fate of AB 2235 is far from certain inside the Legislature. It also would need approval from Gov. Jerry Brown before it could go on the ballot. S&I Cabinet Report


CalSTRS gets $5 billion increase over seven years
Full funding of the troubled California State Teachers Retirement System was approved by the Legislature last weekend, with most of the additional $5 billion coming from school districts that get no offsetting money from the state. With only one “no“ vote, lawmakers approved Gov. Brown’s plan to phase in a massive rate increase over seven years. Calpensions.com


Evaluation shows number of students not taking SAT, ACT or AP exams
No students are taking SAT, ACT or Advanced Placement exams in 14 percent of California’s high schools, a surprising statistic for the committee considering whether to incorporate those measures into the Academic Performance Index for schools. Among alternative high schools serving at-risk populations, the number of students forgoing the tests is even higher. EdSource


Report: “Student-centered schools” close opportunity gap
Personalized instruction, high expectations, and hands-on and group learning experiences are helping to close the achievement gap in four Northern California schools, according to a report released today by the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE). Such “student-centered” practices improved the outcomes for African-American and Latino students at two district schools and two district-approved independent charter schools. EdSource


LAUSD reappoints member of bond oversight panel after uproar
An effort to silence a critic of the Los Angeles school district’s $1-billion technology program backfired Tuesday, when the Board of Education quietly returned him Tuesday to an oversight panel. The move by the school board to reappoint architect Stuart Magruder to the Bond Oversight Committee was hailed as a victory by his colleagues and supporters. LA Times

Morning Read: Child care spending rises, but still short

New child care spending a good first step
Child care funding included in the final state budget adds thousands of new slots and restores reimbursement rates, but still leaves California nearly 40 percent short of the monies it provided for those programs prior to the recession. The $264 million Fair Start proposal aims to invest in early learning and childcare programs. S&I Cabinet Report


Bill to speed firing of some public school teachers advances
A bill to hasten the dismissal of some public school teachers appears to be speeding into law, but it won’t calm the furor unleashed last week when a judge threw out key job protections for California instructors. The faster process would apply to teachers suspected of serious offenses, such as attempted murder, sexual misconduct or drug offenses. LA Times


Dumping tenure law would help state’s credit, Moody’s says
California’s public schools would benefit financially if last week’s Superior Court ruling striking down teacher tenure laws is upheld, credit rating agency Moody’s said in a note published Monday. Moody’s rates bonds issued by more than 100 California school districts. In general, the higher a district’s credit rating, the lower the interest rate it pays when it borrows money. SF Gate


LAUSD has enough yes-men; it needs Stuart Magruder
Editorial: Stuart Magruder probably isn’t the most get-along member of the bond oversight committee for the Los Angeles Unified School District. And that’s OK. The top priority of a member of the bond committee is not to make friends but to protect fiercely both taxpayer money and the students of L.A. Unified. LA Times


Why this is California’s moment to help teachers, students grow
Opinion: At its heart, the landmark June 11 Vergara ruling in California superior court was a decision in support of the notion that every child has a constitutional right to an excellent teacher. In finding California’s teacher tenure laws and “last in/first out” seniority rules unconstitutional, the judge found that such provisions create inequities in our schools. Hechinger Report

Morning Read: Teachers’ union lambastes US education secretary

Teachers’ union leader blasts U.S. Education secretary over comments
American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten sharply criticized U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan last week for his praise of a ruling by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge deeming certain job protections for teachers in California as unconstitutional. The ruling represents a major loss for the unions and a groundbreaking win by attorneys. LA Times


Teacher tenure ruling energizes race for state school chief
Last week’s decision that invalidated the state’s teacher tenure law sent proponents on both sides scrambling to prepare for the appeals process and to do battle in other states over similar protections. But pundits say the Vergara decision has also energized the already bitter race for state superintendent of schools. S&I Cabinet Report


Confusion reigns as LA schools flip-flop arts education plans
Over the past few months, Los Angeles Unified School District administrators have put out pieces of an expansion plan — a budget outline here, new teacher assignments there — that seem to contradict each other and in some cases seem to reduce arts instruction time for some students, rather than follow the school board’s mandate to increase it. KPCC


L.A. school unions back separate candidates in Board of Education race
The two largest school employee unions in Los Angeles are on different sides of a key Board of Education race, as they maneuver for leverage over pay raises, job security and other matters. United Teachers Los Angeles opted last week for George McKenna, while Local 99 of the Service Employees International Union has chosen Alex Johnson. LA Times


Charter school moving after paperwork snafu with L.A. Unified
Citizens of the World Mar Vista elementary school bills itself as a place where students learn respect and an appreciation for different perspectives. But those lessons haven’t moved much beyond the classroom, according to the school’s administrators, parents and teachers. The charter school became embroiled in a months-long dispute with neighbors. LA Times

Morning Read: Teacher dismissal bill heads to Gov. Brown

California teacher firing bill headed to Gov. Jerry Brown
Against the backdrop of a ruling declaring California’s teacher dismissal rules unconstitutional, the Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed and sent to Gov. Jerry Brown legislation speeding the teacher firing process. Sacbee


CA budget agreement is biggest expansion to early education in a decade
Some of California’s tiniest residents look likely to be big winners in next year’s state budget. Lawmakers worked late into Wednesday night to hash out line items that included funding for about 13,000 new slots in subsidized preschools and daycare programs. KPCC


School finance proposal blasted in final days of budget talks
A last-minute proposal from Gov. Jerry Brown to limit the amount of money school districts can keep in their reserve accounts triggered an angry response in the closing days of budget negotiations. LA Times


The fall of teachers unions
As the two big national teachers unions prepare for their conventions this summer, they are struggling to navigate one of the most tumultuous moments in their history. They took a big hit Tuesday when a California judge struck down five laws they had championed to protect teachers’ jobs. Politico


Report shows light at end of fiscal crisis tunnel
The number of local educational agencies in financial jeopardy has dropped significantly in the past year, according to a semiannual state fiscal report released yesterday. The report categorizes just 30 of the state’s 1,038 LEAs as being either in “negative” or “qualified” financial status, down from the 92 facing fiscal jeopardy at this time last year. S&I Cabinet Report

Morning Read: Vergara ruling likely to repeat in other states

Teacher tenure ruling in California is expected to intensify debate
The landmark court decision on Tuesday finding California’s teacher tenure laws unconstitutional is likely to lead to a flood of copycat lawsuits in other states, shifting the battleground on the issue from the legislatures to the courts. NY Times


Why that ruling against teacher tenure won’t help your schoolchildren
Commentary: Tuesday’s ruling by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu declaring all sorts of job protections for teachers “unconstitutional” is being hailed by a certain category of education activists. They seem to have a unanimous view about the reason California schools are supposedly so bad: It’s the teachers unions. LA Times


L.A. Unified agrees to settle two molestation claims for $5 million
The Los Angeles Unified School District has agreed to pay $5 million to settle two legal claims from students who alleged they were molested by a former Telfair Elementary School teacher, a plaintiff’s attorney said Wednesday. One plaintiff will receive $3 million, and the other will get $2 million, said attorney Thomas Cifarelli, who represents several other students with claims against the district. LA Times


California to add child care, transitional kindergarten in budget deal
California will add thousands of additional transitional kindergarten and child care slots for young children, according to a budget deal taking shape at the Capitol, while falling short of a broader program expansion Democratic lawmakers originally proposed. Sac Bee


Powerful new ally of CA’s stand over testing
One of Duncan’s biggest allies on Common Core issues and perhaps the nation’s most powerful private player in education policy – the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – seems to have decided California was right: States need more time to train teachers, prepare assessments and teach students in the new standards before schools can be held accountable. S&I Cabinet Report

Morning Read: Revised bill may hurt kindergarten enrollment

Eligibility for transitional kindergarten threatened under revised bill
Nearly half of California’s currently eligible 4-year-olds would lose their eligibility to enroll in transitional kindergarten in 2015 if a bill that passed the Senate last week gets the governor’s approval. The bill would expand transitional kindergarten, a program for children who turn 5 in the first few months of the school year, but not as much as he’d proposed earlier this year. EdSource


Upswing in revenues means summer school back in session
One of the state’s many programmatic victims from the recent financial crisis, K-12 summer school programs, appear to be making a comeback thanks to a rosier budget picture and a new education funding formula that directs more money to the students who would benefit most from the added learning time. S&I Cabinet Report


L.A. Unified’s Deasy applauds Vergara ruling on teacher rules
Commentary: On Tuesday, a Los Angeles Superior Court issued a ruling in Vergara vs. California that could have a profound and positive effect on California’s schools. The court’s decision in favor of nine student plaintiffs is a decisive step toward creating a system that puts the educational rights of California students before other interests. LA Times


LAUSD Family Literacy: A program worth saving
Commentary: Los Angeles Unified School District board member Bennett Kayser laudably says the school district needs to enhance its commitment to early childhood education — to do what it takes to get disadvantaged youngsters to the K-12 starting line on par with their peers. What if we told you that LAUSD already has such a program? LA Daily News

Morning Read: Senate passes bill to oust abusive teachers

Senate OKs bill easing firings for teacher abuse
The state Senate on Monday passed a bill making it easier to fire teachers accused of sex abuse, child abuse or serious drug crimes. Senators unanimously passed AB215 on a 33-0 vote. The bill by Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, creates a separate hearing process for teachers who are charged with egregious misconduct. CBS Local


Judge objects to funding school police with money for struggling students
Los Angeles’ top juvenile court judge is objecting to a planned diversion of $13 million to school police there from state funds earmarked to provide special learning assistance to disadvantaged kids. Under California’s new Local Control Funding Formula, billions of dollars of earmarked funds are supposed to be directed specifically to low-income and foster-care kids, as well as students classified as still learning English as a second language. EdSource


California judge could change teacher job security
A judge plans to announce a decision Tuesday that could be a game changer for California teachers whose job security is on the line. Attorneys said the anxiously awaited ruling from Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu could have a wide ranging effect in California. Other states tackling the issue are also paying close attention to how the case plays out in the nation’s most populous state. Miami Herald


Parents offer an earful about the ‘welcoming environment’
It isn’t rare to see a parent wandering around their child’s elementary school in search of an office, classroom or auditorium entrance. But parents gathered at a forum last week in Stockton on school climate said getting help from school personnel isn’t easy. They noted that custodial and cafeteria staff was more likely to be welcoming and helpful than anyone from the school office. S&I Cabinet Report


School lockdowns lifted near North Hollywood standoff
Parents and students from the private Oakwood School reunited early Monday afternoon as a suspect armed with an assault rifle was barricaded inside a nearby North Hollywood home. The students left the school, often holding hands in long chains, as officers escorted them in small groups. The students headed toward a park where family members were waiting. As the children appeared, some parents broke into applause. LA Times

Morning Read: State science teachers endure challenging prep

New science standards pose teacher preparation challenges
The evolution of science instruction in California’s K-12 schools has resulted in perhaps the greatest array of specialty credentials in the nation. Teaching students here can consider 9 distinct credentials authorizing science instruction in K-12 schools along with the multiple subject authorization for elementary teachers. If such a policy made sense in the past, it has now become an issue for state officials overseeing teacher preparation. S&I Cabinet Report


5 things you should know about LA schools’ budget debate
Los Angeles Unified school board will debate Tuesday how to spend next year’s $6.8 billion dollar budget. It includes an estimated $332 million bump from Sacramento, a portion of which is meant to help disadvantaged kids. If you have a child in L.A. Unified, here are five things you should know about the debate around Deasy’s budget proposal. KPCC


Program brings mental health education to classrooms
Mental health education should begin at an early age, according to Jon Oliver who started an educational program call Lesson One that creates a cultural environment where learning self-control, self-confidence and how to deal with adversity is as important as the ABCs. Students and staff at E.P. Foster Elementary School in Ventura have been following the program there for several years. NBC LA


Teacher allegedly pulled knife on students to drive him to restaurant
A Southern California high school teacher is facing kidnapping charges after pulling a knife on a trio of students and demanding they drive him to a fast-food restaurant while he was apparently intoxicated, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said. The students were driving at about 9:30 p.m. Saturday when they stopped to greet one of their teachers, 34-year-old John Edward Maust.  NBC LA

Morning Read: More than 300 CA organizations back Common Core

Hundreds of organizations sign statement backing Common Core
More than 300 California business, nonprofit and children’s groups have signed a statement supporting the Common Core State Standards and staying the course amid the discord over Common Core in other states. EdSource


Holding even-year L.A. city elections to boost turnout gets second nod
A Citizens commission charged with finding ways to boost Los Angeles’ low voter turnout called Thursday for city elections to move from odd-numbered years to even ones, when higher profile contests like governor or president are on the ballot.  LA Times


Thousands of LAUSD students expected to receive diplomas this month
School officials estimate 29,242 students will receive their diplomas this year in ceremonies that will conclude by June 25 with the district’s only year-round school, Bell High School. Last year, Los Angeles Unified graduated 27,419 kids on time — increasing its rate by 1.3 percent from 2012. LA Daily News


First official count of high-needs students under new funding formula is in
After a frenetic effort to count every high-needs student in the California public school system, the first official tally under the sweeping new K-12 finance law is in – and the results are mixed. In three of the five largest school districts, the number of students who stand to benefit from the law is lower than expected.  EdSource


Attorney: LAUSD Negligence Caused Drowning Of Special Needs Boy
An attorney for the family of a 16-year-old special needs boy said Thursday that negligence at the hands of the LAUSD resulted in the drowning death of the teen. Eric Garcia, a sophomore at Garfield High School, drowned Wednesday on a class trip when he was “left alone and unattended”, according to his lawyer. CBS Local

Morning Read: Money race begins for McKenna, Johnson

McKenna, Johnson seek funds, backers in L.A. Unified race
The top two finishers in this week’s election for the Los Angeles Board of Education will meet in an August runoff, but first they face another crucial contest: the race for money and powerful endorsements. Each faces challenges in getting over the top. McKenna, 73, a retired district administrator, has a community base, but needs dollars for a viable campaign. Johnson, 33, an aide to Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, is likely to have strong funding, but needs more than that to close the gap. LA Times


State superintendent candidates brace for another round of big spending
Tom Torlakson nearly won another term as superintendent of public instruction outright Tuesday but will instead face second-place finisher Marshall Tuck in November. That’s not particularly good news for Torlakson or the California Teachers Association, Torklakson’s chief financial backer. The union faces the prospect of spending millions of dollars more of teachers’ dues to counter independent expenditures by self-styled education reformers who favor charter schools and an end to teacher tenure. EdSource


School bonds, parcel taxes win big
Tuesday’s primary election proved to be a good day for supporters of school construction bonds and parcel taxes. Voters in 44 California school districts passed 35 school construction measures, worth about $2 billion, a pass rate of about 80 percent. All five of the proposals for school parcel taxes on the ballot also were approved. A bond measure in Mojave Unified is too close to call. School construction bonds require a 55 percent majority to pass, while parcel taxes need two-thirds approval. EdSource


Legislators want districts to be explicit about how they’re targeting dollars
Behind closed doors in coming days, legislative leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown will decide whether to address a complaint that civil rights and parent groups have about the new state funding law: It does not require districts to spell out how they plan to spend the money they are getting for high-needs students, which include low-income children and English learners. EdSource


As banks open in schools, a chance for students to learn to save
As a kid, the closest you probably got to banking was handling colorful bills of Monopoly money. Now, kids are getting a lot closer to the real thing. Hundreds of student-run bank branches and credit unions are open in schools across the U.S. The first branch in Los Angeles opened this spring. They’re all located in low-income, immigrant-heavy neighborhoods. You can only bank here if you’re a student, teacher or parent, but these are real accounts handling real money. NPR


Special needs teen drowns during school trip to east Los Angeles pool
An attorney for the family of a 16-year-old boy who drowned during a school visit to a swimming pool in East Los Angeles says the student, who suffered from intellectual disabilities, died as a result of negligence on the part of the Los Angeles Unified School District. District officials did not immediately comment on the drowning of Garfield High School sophomore Eric Ortiz. LA Daily News

Morning Read: Tuck and Torlakson headed to run-off

California Chief’s Race Headed to Run-Off Between Torlakson, Tuck
The state superintendent’s race in California is headed to a run-off, with incumbent Superintendent Tom Torlakson and challenger Marshall Tuck now set to face each other again in the Nov. 4 general election. Torlakson and Tuck were the top two vote-getters out of the three superintendent candidates on the ballot. But Torlakson, despite topping the poll with nearly 47 percent of the vote, needed to get a majority of the votes cast in order to avoid the run-off. Tuck came in second with a little less than 29 percent of the vote, and Lydia Gutierrez came in third with just over 24 percent. EdWeek


School nurse bill among the dead after May deadline
SB 1239 would have required every district receiving supplemental cash under the state’s new school funding formula to hire a school nurse. AB 1950 sought to establish a permanent funding structure for career technical education, and SB 1157’s goal was to prevent Gov. Jerry Brown from sweeping bond money for seismic building repairs into an account for new school construction. But these education bills are among many that will go no further, having missed the Legislature’s May 30 deadline for making it out of their house of origin. S&I Cabinet Report


LAUSD says budget’s too tight to treat stressed out kids
Los Angeles public schools might look like fertile ground to try new approaches to helping kids with trauma and stress that researchers say can hold them back. It’s the second largest school district in the nation and 80 percent of its students qualify for free and reduced lunch. But while one Los Angeles charter school is showing success through increased student counseling – services at traditional L.A. Unified public schools are severely limited. KPCC


Vacaville school trustee elected to California Teachers Association board
Vacaville Unified trustee and Vanden High teacher Jerry Eaton has been elected to the California Teachers Association board of directors, a three-year post that he begins in late June. After campaigning at the association’s State Council meeting last weekend in downtown Los Angeles, he faced three other challengers, then survived a runoff election Sunday afternoon, when he was declared the winner. The Reporter


Districts must give teachers the time, guidance to develop Common Core
Commentary: Fifty years ago, employers sought workers who were proficient in reading, writing and math. Today, they are prioritizing abilities like teamwork, problem solving and communication. The Common Core reflects this shift, which should change not only how students learn, but how we teachers learn (and, of course, teach). Michael Fullan gets it. As the worldwide authority on education system change said at the EdSource symposium last month, collaborative culture is of utmost importance in the enhancement of teacher learning. EdSource

Morning Read: Education primary focuses on reform and spending

This Primary election in education: Reform and spending
Voters in today’s primaries are faced with a laundry list of education issues as they head to the polls. School boards from some larger districts have vacant seats that are set to be filled, and bond measures ranging from $60 million to $650 million for school renovations will be decided on throughout the state. The key race in education, however, is that for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, which could be a close call. Though incumbent Tom Torlakson, a former teacher and veteran lawmaker, is backed by the California Teachers Association, one of his opponents, Marshall Tuck, has an impressive array of well-heeled backers. S&I Cabinet Report


Students at seven schools sue CA to get more instruction time
Eighteen students from seven low-performing schools in California filed a class-action lawsuit against the state and its top education officials last week, claiming that they have not been given the same amount of time to learn as students in wealthier areas. Pro-bono law firm Public Counsel and the ACLU Foundation of Southern California filed the case, Cruz v. State of California, in Alameda Superior Court. The plaintiffs’ schools and all located in low-income, urban communities. Edweek


Standardized ethnic-studies curriculum for high schools to be studied
Students in Santa Monica High School’s ethnic-studies class took on a touchy subject recently when they analyzed enrollment in Advanced Placement courses. Despite the school’s diversity, most of those taking the college-level classes were predominantly white and from affluent backgrounds, the students found. Their findings didn’t come as a complete surprise. The students had studied racism in education and housing, and they suspected that all ethnicities wouldn’t be equally represented. The next step was to find a way to change it. LA Times


Local schools receive grants
Orange and Los Angeles county schools are the big winners of a $250 million pot of money from the state designed to provide students with more work experience in high-demand industries. The state’s Career Pathways Trust will fund programs that prepare students for real-world jobs in industries such as health care, technology and engineering. The California Department of Education announced the recipients Friday. OC Register


School evacuated after teacher’s aide allegedly runs amok on campus
Van Nuys Elementary School was evacuated after a teacher’s aide grabbed and kicked fellow staff members and threw chairs that injured three students, officials said. The employee was arrested on suspicion of assault. After arriving at the school Monday morning, the aide ran from her car onto campus, banged on classroom doors, threw papers in the air and climbed on top of a table, witnesses told KTLA. Students said she was screaming at the wall, her arms flailing. LA Times

Morning Read: Suspension rates in LAUSD fall, raising questions

L.A. Unified suspension rates fall but some question accuracy
In the heart of Watts, where violence in nearby housing projects can spill over onto campuses, two of the city’s toughest middle schools have long dealt with fights, drugs and even weapons. Administrators typically have handled these problems by suspending students. But this year Markham and Gompers middle schools have reported marked reductions in that form of discipline — as has the L.A. Unified School District overall, where the suspension rate dropped to 1.5% last year from 8% in 2008. LA Times


Race for state superintendent heated despite agreement on key issues
The candidates’ views on charter schools, teachers unions and education reform have turned the race for state superintendent of public instruction into an expensive proxy war between big labor and big donors. But Tom Torlakson and Marshall Tuck, the two leading candidates, both Democrats, share similar views on the two biggest education initiatives – and challenges – of the decade in California. EdSource


Judge keeps details of Miramonte sex abuse investigation secret
A two-year sheriff’s investigation into child abuse at Miramonte Elementary School will remain confidential, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled Friday. Judge John Shepard Wiley said the privacy and well-being of victims was paramount. In the same ruling, Wiley fined the L.A. Unified School District $6,000 for not directly acknowledging and turning over photos to attorneys suing the nation’s second-largest school system. LA Times


Students want more say in district accountability plan process
While California school districts held an unprecedented number of meetings and conducted scores of surveys seeking parent, community and staff input to develop financial blueprints to improve learning for their neediest children, some students are concerned that their voices have been left out of the process. The state’s new school funding law requires that stakeholder groups, including students, be consulted as districts develop their Local Control and Accountability Plans. EdSource


Teaching through trauma: How poverty affects kids’ brains
New research shows the mere fact of being poor can affect kids’ brains, making it difficult for them to succeed in school. Los Angeles public schools — where more than 80 percent of students live in poverty — illustrates the challenges for these students. Less than half of third graders in L.A. Unified read at grade level and 20 percent of students will have dropped out by senior year. KPCC

Morning Read: Can new LAUSD board member create change?

South LA to elect a school board member; Can a new face help?
South Los Angles residents will vote Tuesday on a new school board member – but their decision will affect students all over the district. A slate of seven candidates are vying for District One – which became vacant last year when Marguerite LaMotte died in the middle of her term. It’s home to the poorest performing schools in Los Angeles. KPCC


California’s CORE Districts Faltering On Key Tenets of Waiver
The California districts that won a special reprieve from portions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act are falling short on several key pieces of their waiver agreement, and, in some areas, made major changes to their plan without first getting permission from the U.S. Department of Education. In an undated monitoring report posted on the website of the California Office to Reform Education (or CORE, as the coalition of districts is called), Education Department officials flag several problems with the districts’ adherence to the first-of-its-kind waiver. EdWeek


New online database aims to get students into internships
A new online database being developed by the Foundation for California Community Colleges and the nonprofit Linked Learning Alliance aims to solve that challenge by helping match high school and community college students with employers willing to hire them as interns. Linked learning programs combine academics with real-world work experience.The database, called LaunchPath, is the first of its kind in California. The online program will allow students and teachers to peruse and apply for internships at participating employers. EdSource


 

Dodgers Foundation commits $200K for Breakfast In LAUSD Classrooms
The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation has committed to giving $200,000 to the School Fuel program, which provides universal breakfast to nearly half a million students in the Los Angeles Unified School District. In partnership with the LA Fund For Public Education, the LADF’s support of the School Fuel program will continue through the 2014-2015 school year and will include classroom distribution of 24 million breakfast trays and more than six million Dodger milk cartons per month featuring Ethier, Carl Crawford, Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu. CBS Local


Vergara v. California: The most important case you’ve never heard of
Commentary: This school year, parents learned a tough lesson: The only force on behalf of the public interest is an interested public. And sometimes the students show us the way. Nine public school children have been courageously taking on the government in California, where their right to a sound education is rooted in the Constitution. A judge’s decision is expected soon, and their lawsuit is being watched closely in education circles. Given the stakes, Vergara v. California—so named for one of the plaintiffs, student Beatriz Vergara—deserves even wider attention. The Daily Beast