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Morning Read: LAUSD starts new year facing slew of challenges — and 6 more must-reads

LA School Report | August 14, 2018

Good morning! 7 must-reads on the education beat today:

New school year, new leaders; familiar and serious challenges for L.A. Unified

The nation’s second-largest school system kicks off a fresh year Tuesday with dozens of first-time programs to spur student achievement and recapture enrollment. But not everything new at L.A. Unified was planned, including recent leadership turnover at the top. As for details of plans to deal with intractable problems, including deficit spending and lagging achievement, they haven’t yet been publicly laid out. This year’s additions include dozens of magnet schools and language programs developed over the last two years under former Supt. Michelle King. By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

After school programs — big in California — fight to survive as Trump eyes cuts, The Mercury News

Gary Hart, author of California’s charter school law, reflects on its impact, EdSource

‘Girl powered’ robotics workshop at Google builds skills, confidence, The Mercury News

Do children have a right to literacy? Attorneys are testing that question. Washington Post

To Address School Shootings, U.S. Wants Students to Learn Bleeding-Control Techniques, New York Times

Arne Duncan: ‘I’m Not Convinced This President Wants to Have the Best-Educated Citizenry in the World’, The 74

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See previous morning roundups below:

MONDAY, AUGUST 13: L.A. Unified to consider March election to fill Ref Rodriguez’s school board vacancy

L.A. Unified to consider March election to fill Ref Rodriguez’s school board vacancy

At its next regular meeting, the Los Angeles Board of Education will consider holding an election in March to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Ref Rodriguez. Rodriguez, 47, who represented the school system’s District 5, stepped down July 23 after pleading guilty to one felony and three misdemeanors related to political money laundering.

School board President Monica Garcia and Vice President Nick Melvoin proposed the March election in a statement released Friday. “As elected board members, our collective work is to ensure that the students, families, employees and all stakeholders of the school communities of Board District 5 are fully represented and receive uninterrupted services and support from L.A. Unified,” Garcia and Melvoin wrote. By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

What will teachers unions look like after the Supreme Court’s Janus decision? Expect them to be smaller & more politicalThe 74

California student leaders focus on affordabilityEdSource

Enrollment Is Down at Teacher Colleges. So They’re Trying to ChangeEducation Week

LAUSD superintendent shares vision for new school year during pep rally for school administratorsNBC Los Angeles

‘Girl powered’ robotics workshop at Google builds skills, confidenceThe Mercury News

It’s time to get smart about gifted learning, and who gets exposed to itWashington Post

THURSDAY, AUGUST 9: Support builds to create student data system

Support builds to create longitudinal data system to track student progress in California

California needs a statewide system that tracks student performance from pre-school to college and beyond, several experts and lawmakers said at a state Senate hearing on Tuesday.

The state, which trails most states in providing such a system, needs to be able to answer questions about education quality and how students progress from K-12 to college and the workforce, speakers said.

The current information available is “all very disconnected, and there are gaps,” said Sen. Steven Glazer (D-Orinda), who conducted the hearing as the chair of the Select Committee on Student Success. Educators and the public do not have data that “in my view greatly improve students’ performance and their ultimate employment.”

The committee was created in early 2017 to explore best practices and innovation to improve student success. By Mikhail Zinshteyn, EdSource

How Northern California schools are responding to the wildfires, ABC10

New L.A. STEM school inspired by JPII, Catholic News Agency

Inside the $3 Billion School Security Industry: Companies Market Sophisticated Technology to ‘Harden’ Campuses, but Will It Make Us Safe?, The 74

Texas will soon release A-F grades for schools. Educators are organizing in opposition, Waco Tribune

How Learning Science Is Catching Up To Mr. Rogers, NPR


WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8: Jerry Brown appoints 4 new U of C regents

Jerry Brown appoints 4 University of California regents, including his finance director

Gov. Jerry Brown appointed his finance director as a University of California regent Monday, and three others to the powerful higher education governing board — including a union leader with the Service Employees International Union. Brown named Michael Cohen, 45, of Sacramento, his state Department of Finance director since 2013. Cohen has also been a budget executive with the department and has held jobs with the state’s Legislative Analyst’s office. He has registered no party preference. For years, Brown has clashed with the regents over finances. While the regents have consistently threatened to raise tuition if increases in state funding were not forthcoming, Brown has succeeded in keeping tuition flat in exchange for small increases in state funding tied to inflation. Cohen’s appointment appears to be an effort to install a like-minded thinker onto the board. By Nanette Asimov, San Francisco Chronicle

How Students, Parents and Staff Respond Differently to the School Experience Survey, School Data Nerd

12-Year-Old Scuba Diver & Activist Purges Plastic Straws From Her California School District — and She’s Just Getting Her Feet Wet, The 74

UNC Asheville to get $2.5 million from California donor who struggled to pay for college, Citizen Times

‘I Feel Happy to Enter Classes Again’: One Migrant Teen’s Perilous Journey From El Salvador to High School in the U.S., The 74

Students With Disabilities Sue ACT Over Release of Personal Information, Education Week

Spring break at school? New research says it helps middle schoolers catch up, Chalkbeat

TUESDAY, AUGUST 7: Chief attorney wants to end LAUSD practice of random search

Activists Fighting LAUSD’s Random Search Policy Gain An Ally: L.A.’s Top Lawyer 

If you went to a Los Angeles Unified middle- or high school in the last two decades, chances are you remember being “wanded.” Since 1993, staff in LAUSD schools have been searching students, at random, every day, for weapons and drugs. The administrator conducts the search with a handheld metal detector wand — like those often seen at concerts and stadiums — hence the nickname for the district’s random search policy: “wanding.” L.A.’s chief attorney Mike Feuer wants that practice to end. A blue ribbon panel on school safety he convened released its final recommendations to improve safety in LAUSD schools on Monday. By Kyle Stokes, Laist

How Racism Impacts Black Kids With Autism: From the Clinic to the Classroom, SpeakUP

Eight years ago, the L.A. Times published teachers’ ratings. New research tells us what happened next., Chalkbeat

How California is transforming bus drivers, clerks and yard supervisors into teachers, Sacramento Bee

Los Angeles Teachers Take First Step Toward Strike, Education Week

Civil jury vindicates fired Montebello school executives in whistleblower case, Los Angeles Times

Advocacy group calls for more oversight of California charter school spending, Education Dive

LA School Safety report stops short of putting guns in teachers’ hands; finds weapons searches ineffective, Los Angeles Daily News

Commentary: By Ending Advanced Placement Courses, 8 Elite Private Schools Set a Dangerous Precedent That Could Hurt Disadvantaged Kids, The 74

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