In Partnership with The 74

Morning Read: Proposed legislation could expand expiring ban on “willful defiance” suspensions — and 7 more must-reads

LA School Report | February 16, 2018



Good morning! 8 must-reads for you, to start the day:

Countdown to expand ban on ‘willful defiance’ suspensions in California schools

With just months to go before California’s ban on so-called “willful defiance” suspensions in early primary grades is set to expire, youth advocates are pushing for passage of a bill making its way through the state Legislature that would both continue the ban and expand it to include all grades from kindergarten through high school.

The legislation, SB 607, is authored by Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, and represents the latest effort by a broad coalition of civil rights organizations to cement gains they’ve made in recent years to significantly reduce suspensions and expulsions in schools statewide.

Advocates have long sought to outlaw suspensions for behaviors that teachers and administrators deem “defiant” or “disruptive” because they are considered too subjective and disproportionately meted out to students of color. By David Washburn, EdSource

Recent shootings can make going to school seem scary, but there are ways to help kids cope, Los Angeles Times

Michael Kirst weighs another 4 years on state education board after Gov. Brown departs, EdSource

Daves Avenue alumna returns to school as art teacher for a day, The Mercury News

Philadelphia Principal Promises Students $100 Each If They Finish the Year Without a Fight, The 74

Senate Proposals Dealing With ‘Dreamers’ Go Down to Defeat, Politics K-12

States Worry You May Claim 529 Tax Exemption for K-12 School Tuition, Wall Street Journal

What educators, parents, and students are grappling with in the wake of America’s latest school shooting, Chalkbeat

Get the morning must-reads, as well as new education news and analysis from across Los Angeles, delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for the LA School Report newsletter.

See previous morning roundups below:


THURSDAY, FEB. 15: Nearly 18 percent of school districts slated to get more special ed support

With support instead of punishment, a California school district works to improve special education

As a result of California’s new school accountability system, West Contra Costa Unified, a San Francisco Bay Area school district that includes Richmond and several surrounding communities, is facing considerable pressure to increase the number of special education students who meet math and English language arts standards on tests and who go on to graduate.

The district is among more than 150 districts — nearly 18 percent of all districts in California — slated to get help from county offices of education to improve special education students’ performance on state accountability metrics such as standardized tests and graduation rates.

The assistance it and other districts will receive is based on low performance on a range of indicators measured by California’s new accountability dashboard, which also includes ratings for other student groups such as English learners, low-income students and racial and ethnic subgroups. By Theresa Harrington, EdSource

Parents Fear Kids-Last Labor Deal Will Bankrupt LAUSD, Speak UP

Enrollment season: Bay Area parents pin hopes on coveted schools’ lotteries, The Mercury News

At Least 17 Dead in Florida School Massacre: 7 Early Questions Answered About the Deadliest Shooting Since Newtown, The 74

Florida Shooting: Superintendent Has ‘No Words That Can Describe the Heartache’, Education Week

Trump: Nobody Should Ever Feel Unsafe In American Schools, U.S. News and World Report, via TopSheet.com

Students can’t learn if they don’t show up at school, Hechinger Report

Study finds DACA encourages undocumented kids to stay in school, as Congress ponders their future, Chalkbeat


WEDNESDAY, FEB. 14: College aid applications through California Dream Act down by half

Good morning! 8 must-reads for you, to start the day:

Applications for college aid through the California Dream Act are down again

Each year, California invites students who are in the country without legal permission to apply for the same financial aid packages available to others. But officials once again are concerned that fears are keeping those they want to help from seeking the funding.

The deadline to apply for aid through the California Dream Act is March 2, just about two weeks away.

As of Monday, 19,141 students had applied. That’s a little more than half of last year’s total. By Joy Resmovits, Los Angeles Times

Understanding California’s charter schools division: A quick guide, EdSource

Poll: The Majority of California Parents Like New State Report Card, Education Week

A school made children say ‘yes’ to any classmate who asked for a dance. Then a parent spoke up. Washington Post

74 Interview: Sal Khan on Personalized Learning, a Global Diploma, and How He’d Spend $100 million, The 74

Catholic School Grads Rally For Student In Trouble Over Planned Parenthood Sticker, Huffington Post

The Student-Loan Problem That Won’t Go Away, The Wall Street Journal, via TopSheet.com

To fight poverty in U.S., Bill and Melinda Gates say they may move beyond education, Chalkbeat


TUESDAY, FEB. 13: Can these California districts create a better school accountability plan?

Good morning! 7 must-reads for you, to start the day:

Creating a ‘test kitchen’ to come up with a better school accountability plan in California,

Four organizations and three California school districts will attempt to create what the State Board of Education and the California Department of Education have struggled with through three iterations: an annual district budget and planning document that is more readable, credible and manageable. Last week, the new partnership announced a “test kitchen” to experiment with new approaches to achieve the aims of the Local Control Funding Formula, the 2013 law that gave districts more flexibility and control over improving schools and budgeting money. By John Fensterwald, EdSource

Applications for college aid through the California Dream Act are down again, Los Angeles Times

Brown appoints 15 to new K-12 science panel, EdSource

Palo Alto: Fifth-grader heads to National History Bee regionals, Mercury News

By the Numbers: President Trump’s 10 Biggest Proposed Cuts to U.S. Education, Ranked, The 74

Poll finds southern voters want more education spending, Hechinger Report

The Education Department Officially Won’t Deal With Transgender Students Experiencing Bathroom Discrimination, HuffPost


MONDAY, FEB. 12: What the president’s 2019 budget proposal could mean for your school

Good morning! 7 must-reads for you, to start the day:

Trump’s 2019 Budget Proposal and Education: What to Watch

President Donald Trump is expected to release his latest federal spending wish list Monday morning. And the U.S. Department of Education may not fare well.

The proposal could include a billion or two more in cuts than last year’s budget pitch, which sought to slash more than $9 billion from the department’s nearly $70 billion budget. This is going to be a confusing year because Congress still hasn’t finalized last year’s spending plan, for fiscal year 2018, which started on Oct. 1 and generally impacts the 2018-19 school year. By Alyson Klein, Education Week

Tackling the Opioid epidemic: Senate hearing touts 3 ways education can play a role in the fight, The 74

El Camino Real Charter High School wins LA Academic Decathlon, Los Angeles Times

Inside California’s Bryant School, a simple and innovative strategy for making tough concepts easy, The 74

Northern California science fair project trying race, IQ sparks outcry, The Mercury News

Lessons in flexibility from the nation’s largest school networks, The Washington Post

In her words: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos assesses a year on the job, New York Times


FRIDAY, FEB. 9: Once again at LAUSD, a tough search for a new superintendent 

L.A. Unified once again embarks on a tough search for a new superintendent 

Less than two years after members of the L.A. school board chose a superintendent from the district’s ranks, they now find themselves in search of a new one — and the task may be harder than ever. The nation’s second-largest school system has a dizzying array of problems, but the board is divided on how to solve them. Meanwhile, there aren’t many candidates considered qualified for such a daunting job, and those who are may be getting other offers. By  Anna M. Phillips, Howard Blume, and Joy Resmovits, Los Angeles Times

California’s ambitious education reforms paying off in higher graduation rates and math scores, study finds, EdSource

LAPD still searching for owner of gun that went off in Westlake classroom, Los Angeles Times

It could cost Oakland schools $38 million to fix lead contamination, Mercury News

Tackling the Opioid Epidemic: Senate Hearing Touts 3 Ways Education Can Play a Role, From Better Drug Prevention to Discipline Reform, The 74

Congress proposes $2.7 billion in disaster relief for U.S. schools, Washington Post

Betsy DeVos rescinded 72 guidance docs for students with disabilities, USA Today


THURSDAY, FEB. 8: LAUSD should hold all schools accountable

Good morning! 8 must-reads for you, to start the day:

LAUSD Should Hold All Schools Accountable, Melvoin Says

Board Vice President Nick Melvoin (BD4) on Tuesday decried the fact that district schools don’t come before the Board to have their performance evaluated and to be held accountable for the results of student achievement in the same way that independent charter schools do. The Board voted at Tuesday’s charter meeting to allow two schools to revert from affiliated charter status back to traditional neighborhood schools: Chandler Learning Academy and Emelita Academy Charter. Affiliated charters are district schools that operate with traditional union contracts but have more autonomy over curriculum, class sizes and budgeting. By Jenny Hontz, SpeakUP

May preliminary hearing set in Ref Rodriguez’s political money laundering caseLos Angeles Times

California’s largest districts address chronic absenteeism with focus on why students miss schoolEdSource

Research shows California schools are narrowing achievement gapsVallejo Times-Herald

New Campaign to Pressure Silicon Valley on ‘Tech Addiction’ and KidsEducation Week

In Fight Over Science Education in Idaho, Lawmakers Move to Minimize ClimateNew York Times

Betsy DeVos: Outsider Status Has Been ‘Asset’ in First Year on the JobPolitics K-12

1 Maryland Student Injured in School Parking Lot Shooting; at Least 6 Killed and 26 Injured at Schools This YearThe 74


WEDNESDAY, FEB. 7: How will CA districts serve disadvantaged students? Gov. Brown wants published budget details

Good morning! 7 must-reads for you, to start the day:

Governor wants California school districts to give more detail on use of state funds in budgets

In an effort to make it easier to see how school districts in California are spending their funds to improve education outcomes, Gov. Jerry Brown wants to require school districts to publish in their annual budgets a summary of the funds they plan to spend on low-income children, English learners and other high-needs students. His proposal is contained in what is called the Omnibus Education Trailer Bill issued by the state’s Department of Finance, published last week. The bill is intended to implement key sections of Brown’s proposed budget for the coming fiscal year. The Legislature would have to approve the trailer bill when it approves a final budget, probably sometime in June. By Louis Freedberg, EdSource

California schools may no longer get more help based on test scores, ABC 10

A partnership that could get a lot more kids into college: CSU, meet YMCASacramento Bee

24 Children’s Books To Read To Your Kids In Honor Of Black History MonthHuffington Post

As Puerto Rico’s Governor Embraces Major School Reform Agenda, New Orleans Offers Inspiration, Caution, The 74

This Teacher of the Year Showed Me Just How Important DACA IsEducation Post

Chicago Public School Teachers Vote to Include Charter Teachers in UnionEducation Week

Read Next