Education must-reads: From new training for teachers of bilingual preschoolers to lawmakers debating how to prevent another college admissions scandal, 10 new things to know about California’s schools (and beyond)
LA School Report | March 20, 2019
Education Must-Reads is our daily roundup of the most interesting news articles and analysis surrounding students, schools and California education policy.
When Joyce Ponce used to teach Head Start preschool programs in Santa Clara County, she taught in English, though many of the children in her classroom spoke Spanish or Punjabi at home. “I noticed the kids who did not understand English were just sitting off to the side, but the moment the assistant would come and speak their language, they blossomed, their eyes opened up,” Ponce said. Ponce, now a coach for other Head Start teachers, is one of hundreds of preschool teachers and supervisors across California who are getting training this year on how to support children whose families speak a language other than English at home. These students account for 60 percent of children under 5 years old in the state and are often referred to as “dual-language learners” because they are learning two languages as they grow — their home language and English. By Zaidee Stavely, EdSource
When personalized learning also boosts special education students, Hechinger Report
Don’t Like Who’s on the School Board Ballot? Run, Education Post
College Admissions Scandal Relied on More Students Using SAT Accommodation, Wall Street Journal
The dark side of education research: widespread bias, Hechinger Report
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See previous morning roundups below:
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20:
California’s community colleges are making some gains toward ambitious goals of getting more students to complete degrees and transfer to universities but the small improvements last year were “disappointing” and show that much work remains ahead, the system’s leader said Monday.
“While there is some progress, it is not acceptable progress,” system chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley told EdSource. The statistics were included in his “state of the system” presentation Monday to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors.
The report shows minimal improvements: a less than one percent increase last year in the number of students who earned degrees or credentials and a three percent rise in students who transferred to University of California or California State University campuses.
Oakley acknowledged that it is “not going to be easy” to reach the targets he and the board previously established for 2021-22, known as Vision for Success. By Larry Gordon, EdSource
Amid college admissions scandal, USC announces tuition increase, Los Angeles Times
LAUSD’s fiscal crisis can’t be blamed on charter schools or declining enrollment, Los Angeles Daily News
Lawmakers Push To Get Rid Of SAT Amid Admissions Scandal, CBS Sacramento
College admissions scammers found ‘the hole in the Death Star’, Los Angeles Times
These are the best private high schools in the Bay Area, San Francisco Business Times
TUESDAY, MARCH 19:
Confident that a new Democratic supermajority in the California Legislature will back them, two state senators are proposing to ask voters in 2020 to make it easier for school district voters to pass a parcel tax. Unwilling to await that outcome, Los Angeles Unified school board members are confident they can persuade their voters to pass an ambitious parcel tax now.
For several years, Bay Area Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo and Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, have been looking for an opportunity to lower the threshold needed to pass a parcel tax. It’s now a two-thirds majority; they want to drop it to 55 percent — the same that it takes for voters to approve a school construction bond. But either the political timing has been off or they were just a vote or two shy of the two-thirds support required in the Legislature to put a constitutional amendment on a statewide November 2020 ballot, where it would then need only a simple majority to pass. By John Fensterwald, EdSource
Layoff notices will go to hundreds of Oakland school workers to trim budget, San Francisco Chronicle
The college cheating scandal hit these Eastside high school kids hard, Los Angeles Times
Teachers union votes to authorize strike against Sacramento City Unified, The Sacramento Bee
Azusa Pacific University lifts LGBTQ relationship ban (again), San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Survey: Principals rate their leadership skills high, Education Dive
Superintendent Under Fire: The Tricky Calculus of When to Quit, Education Week
MONDAY, MARCH 18:
The Office of the Inspector General at the Los Angeles Unified School District is the type of government agency that any taxpayer — not just those with kids in school — would want working well.
Hunting for signs of waste, fraud and misconduct, the OIG monitors $9.6 billion dollars in spending by the nation’s second-largest school system each year — roughly the amount of money the state pays into the California State University system every year.
For the last year, though, the office tasked with inspecting LAUSD’s internal workings has been roiled by internal controversy of its own.
Last spring, the OIG’s second-in-command resigned amid allegations of misconduct, and the boss lost his shot at renewal of his long-term contract. By late fall, a third high-ranking official who complained about them both was put on leave, charged with sexual harassment and ultimately fired.
Now, as the new boss settles in at the OIG, a KPCC/LAist investigation reveals new details about the turmoil that roiled the department over the last year, and raises the question: Who’s holding whom accountable in the L.A. Unified School District? By Kyle Stokes, LAist
Democrats Seek to Block Federal Funds to Arm Teachers, U.S. News and World Report
THURSDAY, MARCH 14:
A prominent Napa Valley vintner worked feverishly last fall to secure his daughter’s admission to USC as a water polo recruit. The catch: The girl wasn’t qualified to join the powerhouse team that is routinely among the nation’s best.
That didn’t stop the father, according to court documents. His effort over more than a year — aided by a for-profit college counseling and preparation business in Newport Beach — included arranging a fraudulent SAT score, fabricating an athletic profile that described her as a “2017 Team MVP” and emailing a photograph of another individual playing water polo that was presented as her. A senior athletic department official at USC would see to it that the daughter would receive a conditional acceptance to the highly selective private university. In return, the father would send the official a check for $50,000.
Early Tuesday, prosecutors announced a dozen indictments in U.S. district court in Boston, alleging a $25-million racketeering conspiracy in which parents from around the country bribed coaches and an athletic administrator to designate their children falsely as recruited athletes. By Brady McCollough, Los Angeles Times
Resist efforts to restrict school choice in California, Redlands Daily Facts
Schools Finding Record Number of Homeless Students, Study Says, Education Week
DeVos allows religious groups to provide taxpayer-funded services in private schools, The Washington Post