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Education must-reads: From LAUSD’s push to help deprived youth to growing concerns about changes to state’s ethnic studies curriculum, 12 new things to know about California’s schools (and beyond)

LA School Report | August 21, 2019

Education Must-Reads is our daily roundup of the most interesting news articles and analysis surrounding students, schools and California education policy.

Homeless kids, chronic absenteeism, frustrated parents: L.A. Unified is back to school and trying to help

Nearly half a million Los Angeles children and teenagers streamed into more than 1,000 public campuses for a new school year Tuesday, many carrying burdens from their outside world: homelessness, malnutrition and difficulties at home that can contribute to chronic absenteeism, discipline problems and low academic achievement.

Yet on this first day of school — as scores of yellow buses took to the streets and students greeted one another with hugs and shrieks of excitement — the outside world also brought in a modicum of help. Although L.A. Unified School District leaders say students need exponentially more assistance to succeed, they are intent on targeting aid to help meet the basic needs of their most deprived youth.

In addition, the district is focused on developing more programs to fill in academic gaps, develop life skills and help parents better navigate an often frustrating school system bureaucracy. By Howard Blume, Sonali Kohli, Nina Agrawal, Los Angeles Times

Mandatory background checks for California charter school teachers under consideration, EdSource

LAUSD partners with city housing agencies to assist northeast Valley families, Los Angeles Daily News

Will changes to California’s ethnic studies curriculum weaken it? That’s what some activists and educators say, Los Angeles Times

California School Condemns Video of High Schoolers Giving Nazi Salute, Education Week

Families Requesting More Vaccine Exemptions in Local Schools Despite Recent Measles Outbreak, ABC 7

Bay Area school named for journalist who publicly identified as ‘undocumented’ immigrant, Los Angeles Times

Complicated Crusader to Accused Federal Conspirator: Ex-Puerto Rico Education Secretary Julia Keleher’s ‘Surreal’ Journey, The 74

Support grows nationwide for paying teachers more, EdSource

Vaping Moves from the Bathroom to the Classroom, The Wall Street Journal

Jail Parents over Skipping School? Some 2020 Democrats Threatened It, USA Today 

Ed Next Poll: Support for Choice Increases, but Confusion over Charters Remains, Education Dive

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See previous morning roundups below:


Back to the classroom: LAUSD chief sets sights on supporting principals and gaining public trust 

Following a year roiled by a teachers strike and failure of a school funding ballot measure, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner kicked off the 2019-2020 school year Thursday with goals to support campus leadership and build public trust in the nation’s second largest school district.

During his second ‘State of the Schools’ address on Thursday at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Beutner touted increases in graduation rates last year – an “all-time high” for the district at 78.1% – along with continued declines in chronic absences by .5% and record low suspension rates across the district. By Ariella Plachta, Los Angeles Daily News

How much did L.A. test scores improve over the last year? Beutner touts ‘real progress’, Los Angeles Times

Gender, Name Changes Could Be Required on California High School Diplomas after Graduation, EdSource

LAUSD’s Beutner Expects Public Ed Funding to Be on 2020 Ballot, Education Dive

Beutner Calls For More Transparency and Touts Graduation Rate, Speak UP

Opinion: LAUSD Has the Latest Bad Plan for Grading the Quality of LA’s Schools,  Los Angeles Times

Struggling California school opens with fresh paint, new teachers and renewed hope, EdSource

Suicide Prevention Tool Rolls out in California Schools, Patch

Several South Bay Schools Face a Teacher Shortage, NBC 4

Free college tuition and mentors: How San Jose Unified plans to close a special ed teacher shortage, Mercury News

The Mandatory-Expulsion Maze: Giving a Friend an Adderall Derailed an Honor Student’s Academic Career. He’s Not the Only One, The 74

What If You Could Change Your Child’s Future in 1 Hour a Week?, NPR 



L.A. Unified may issue ratings to its schools and charters to help parents choose

Los Angeles Unified is considering its first-ever plan to provide a rating scale for public schools and privately run charters, a move aimed at giving parents and educators simple and accessible analysis of campus performance, documents reviewed by The Times show.

If it moves forward, the effort to rate schools on a scale of 1 to 5 would allow for a direct comparison of academic programs in a way that would benefit some schools and present others in an unflattering light. The proposal is already raising red flags among critics who say such simplified ratings would be unfair to some schools. By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

New push in California for later middle, high school start times, EdSource

Man, LAUSD settle sexual abuse allegations stemming from Van Nuys school, Los Angeles Daily News

Ethnic studies proposal for high schoolers called leftist, anti-Semitic, Orange County Register 

High school starts early for California freshmen in ‘summer bridge, EdSource

California School District Will Not Allow Parents To Opt Children Out Of LGBTQ Content, Emails Show, Daily Caller

Achievement gap question still unanswered, CALmatters

Editorial: Local Control Funding Formula works only as well as its schools, San Francisco Chronicle

4.5 Million Young People Nationwide Are Not Working or in School. How Cities Are Working to Get Them Back on Track — & Avoid the School-to-Prison Pipeline, The 74

States Have a Chance to Align Career-Technical Education Plans With ESSA, Politics K-12 

Federal government to restrict green cards for immigrants who could use food stamps or other aid in future, EdSource

Schools Worry Over New Trump Rule on Immigrants and Federal Benefits, Politics K-12



Nationwide project provides free science materials to meet California’s new standards

While California students began taking a new statewide science test this past spring, school districts were still struggling to get teaching materials aligned to the state’s new science standards into classrooms. A new nationwide effort is trying to speed up that process by offering free, open source science materials to teachers and schools. In 2017, philanthropists, state leaders and curriculum writers formed OpenSciEd to get materials to teachers implementing the Next Generation Science Standards, new academic standards that emphasize hands-on projects and integrate several scientific disciplines. By Sydney Johnson, EdSource

Behind UC’s ‘admission by exception’ side door: sports, money, diversity and secrecy, CALmatters

‘Kids Are Being Arrested, but They Don’t Ask, “Are You OK?”’: San Antonio Students Advocate for Their Own Mental Health, but the Odds Are Against Them, The 74

Child care providers push California to boost pay for early education teachers, EdSource

Inspire charter schools spread across California as critics warn of performance, financial concerns, San Diego Union Tribune

‘Separate Programs for Separate Communities’: California School District Agrees to Desegregate, The New York Times

When ‘back to school’ means back to mass-shooting fears, The Atlantic 

National PTA President: Congress Must Reconvene Now to Address Gun Violence, Education Week

Joe Biden’s Stumble and the Fraught Distinction Between ‘Poor Kids’ and ‘White Kids’, Politics K-12

Charter schools in some cities enroll few students mid-year. Here’s why that matters, Chalkbeat

Coming to America: Our best student podcasts about immigration, NPR

When the children leave: What’s left after a mass exodus of young people from Puerto Rico?, The Hechinger Report



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