In Partnership with The 74

Morning Read: California needs a state agency to unify patchwork of early ed programs, report urges — and 7 more must-reads

LA School Report | February 23, 2018



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

Single state agency needed to coordinate California’s ‘patchwork’ of early childhood education programs, new report urges

California will continue to lag behind other states in providing enough child care slots and diverse preschool options for all its nearly 2.5 million children under the age of 5 until it develops a more unified system that provides affordable care and makes it easier for families to enroll.

That is a key recommendation in a recent report published by the Learning Policy Institute. Researchers say California needs to have one state-level agency that will help coordinate the state’s often-confusing array of child care and preschool programs. The new agency should also examine factors that affect the quality of programs, such as low wages for preschool teachers and child care workers and a lack of ongoing professional development for those employees.

It also recommends that to ensure more coordination locally, the state “fully fund and grant decision-making authority to a single coordinating body at the county or regional level”. By Ashley Hopkinson, EdSource

Walters: Is California Gov. Jerry Brown’s school finance reform paying off? The Mercury News

California Bill Would Make Ethnic Studies Classes Mandatory, Time

When state’s education policies go bad, our children pay, The Modesto Bee

Live in D.C.: Governors Talk With Axios’ Mike Allen About the State of American Education at Friday Morning Town Hall, The 74

Education Department Sees A Major Uptick In Complaints Of Racial Harassment In Schools, Huffington Post

Trump Promotes Arming Teachers With Guns, but Rejects Active Shooter Drills, The New York Times, via TopSheet.com

‘No way I would do that’: Educators decry Trump proposal to arm teachers, Washington Post

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. 22: Education research project aims to shape California elections

Good morning! 6 must-reads for you, to start the day:

California research project timed to elevate education in fall elections, inform next governor

A compendium of more than 30 new studies on California education, involving dozens of researchers, will be released in June, in time to help shape the debate in state elections in November and the next governor’s approach to education. At least that’s the organizers’ intent.

“Getting Down to Facts II,” as the massive project is called, will take multiple looks at how well the 2013 Local Control Funding Formula is working to make school financing more equitable and raise student achievement. Other studies will examine how the state trains and retains teachers and principals and measures their performance, how it funds special education and how it deals with students’ mental health issues. By John Fensterwald, EdSource

After-school programs level the playing field, EdSource

Trump Pushes Concealed Weapons for Teachers, End to Gun Free School Zones as Florida Shooting Survivors Plead for ‘Significant Change’, The 74

Students are zapping their brains to get ahead in school – but evidence for the practice is limited, Hechinger Report

Marching and Mourning: Students Protesting Florida Lawmakers in Wake of Parkland Shootings Inspire Wave of Walkouts, Vigils Around the Country, The 74

Seventeen States Get More Time on Their ESSA Plans, Education Week


WEDNESDAY, FEB. 21: California’s teacher shortage showing no signs of easing up

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

Teacher shortages persist in California and getting worse in many communities

Despite an improving economy and new efforts to recruit teachers, California’s teacher shortage is showing no signs of easing up.

In fact, shortages are becoming more severe in many communities.

That’s the conclusion of a new report from the Learning Policy Institute, based on a survey of 25 school districts of different sizes and in diverse locations in the state.

The districts are not intended to be representative of California’s nearly 1,000 school districts, but they provide a window into how some two dozen districts are dealing with a widespread problem. By Louis Freedberg, EdSource

After Janus, Another Key Lawsuit Targeting Unions: How California’s Yohn Case Targets Opt-Out RulesThe 74

Former Oakland schools chief ousted from DC postThe Mercury News

Suspension rates for black male students in California higher for foster youth, rural studentsEdSource

How mass school shootings affect the education of students who surviveWashington Post

‘I Worry Every Day’: Lockdown Drills Prompt Fear, Self-Reflection After School ShootingEducation Week

Students are zapping their brains to get ahead in school — but evidence for the practice is limitedHechinger Report

Trump Administration Looking at Bankruptcy Options for Student DebtWall Street Journal, via TopSheet


TUESDAY, FEB. 20: Lawmakers pushing increased regulation of home schools after Turnpin abuse case

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

Turpin abuse case prompts state bill to tighten regulation of home schools

California lawmakers are pushing to increase regulation of home schools after a dozen siblings were discovered locked in a dirty, dark house in Riverside County.

The house in Perris had been registered as a private school — with the cheery name of Sandcastle Day School.

Last month, after a malnourished 17-year-old escaped and alerted authorities to the abuse she and her 12 siblings, ages 2 to 29, had endured there, her parents were arrested and charged with multiple counts of torture and child endangerment. David Turpin, 56, and Louise Turpin, 49, have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them and a judge has barred them from contacting their children. By Anna Phillips, Los Angeles Times

‘Big data’ classes a big hit in California high schools, EdSource

A Bay Area lawmaker’s crusade to require public charter schools to provide free lunch, The Mercury News

New Report Shows Charter Schools Less Likely to Be Unionized Than They Were 6 Years Ago; Majority of Those Schools Located in 4 States, The 74

Betsy DeVos’ Team Moves to Cut Political Positions, Merge Federal Education Programs, Politics K-12

School Shootings Put Teachers in New Role as Human Shields, The New York Times, via TopSheet

Students, free speech advocates outraged over policy that would censor yearbooks, USA Today

School boards increasingly embrace the ABCs of social activism, Washington Post


FRIDAY, FEB. 16: Proposed legislation could expand expiring ban on “willful defiance” suspensions

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

Read Next