In Partnership with The 74

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.  

New training for California preschool teachers to help bilingual children prepare for kindergarten

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

California lawmakers debate how to prevent another college admissions scandal, CALmatters

New teachers often get the students who are furthest behind — and that’s a problem for both, Chalkbeat

East Bay teachers union authorizes strike as negotiations continue, Mercury News

A cap on charters would only cap family choices, EdSource

When personalized learning also boosts special education students, Hechinger Report

Don’t Like Who’s on the School Board Ballot? Run, Education Post

Arnett: 3 Things Ed Tech Can’t Do That Illustrate Why Teachers Matter More Than Ever, The 74

College Admissions Scandal Relied on More Students Using SAT Accommodation, Wall Street Journal

The dark side of education research: widespread bias, Hechinger Report

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

See previous morning roundups below:


California community colleges show little progress in student graduations and transfers

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

Darling-Hammond: Building a ‘world class and equitable education system in California’, EdSource

Olivia Jade’s former classmate describes ‘super-elite’ school with ‘insane’ expectations, USA Today

These are the best private high schools in the Bay Area, San Francisco Business Times

Who Are the Students Attending Charter Schools With Low Graduation Rates?, Education Week

At Seattle’s Experimental, Experiential Downtown School, Students Learn How to Learn With an Entire City as Their Laboratory, The 74

Achievement First charter network, still receiving Sackler money, joins nonprofits weighing opioid-linked donations, Chalkbeat

Regulations for child care hard to roll back, as Trump proposed, because there aren’t many, Hechinger Report



Push underway to lower the barrier for school districts to pass a parcel tax

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

LAUSD Will Fall $749 Million Below Required Reserve Fund Level in 2021-22 Unless Parcel Tax Passes, Speak Up

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

Admissions scandal reinforces stereotypes but elite colleges admitting more low-income students, Los Angeles Times

Azusa Pacific University lifts LGBTQ relationship ban (again), San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Police issue ‘virtual kidnap’ alerts to California schools, NBC News

Teaching Teachers to Learn From Each Other: Leading Educators Hopes to Turn the Multi-Billion-Dollar Professional Development Industry on Its Head, The 74

Schools Grapple With Student Depression as Data Show Problem Worsening, Education Week

Survey: Principals rate their leadership skills high, Education Dive

Teacher Voice: The gaping hole in President Trump’s proposed education budget, Hechinger Report

Superintendent Under Fire: The Tricky Calculus of When to Quit, Education Week

Runaway-slave games. Sanitized textbooks. Schools do a terrible job teaching about slavery, USA Today



Lewd Photos, Harassment And Retaliation Allegations: Inside The Meltdown At LAUSD’s Powerful Watchdog Agency

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

Charter school supporters unveil battle strategy against push to restrict growth in California, EdSource

The other LA college cheating scandal — the one you might have missed this week, LAist

Unionizing daycare? California’s child care workers seek a seat at the big kids’ table, CALmatters

Just miles from USC and the admissions scandal, these students sell food for college money, Los Angeles Times

UC regents revolt against $762 tuition hike for non-Californians, EdSource

Amid Trump’s border showdown, UC immigration lawyer comforts and fights, CALmatters

Gov. Newsom’s early childhood advisor describes ‘whole-child, whole-family, whole-community’ strategy, EdSource

Who applies and who’s denied? Four things we learned from a new report on America’s charter schools, Chalkbeat

Linda Darling-Hammond becomes president of California’s State Board of Education, EdSource

2 Stanford students file first class-action suit in largest college admissions scam, USA Today

Empowering Teens on Vaccines: New York Lawmakers Consider Bill That Would Allow Children 14 and Up to Be Vaccinated Without Parents’ Consent, The 74

Democrats Seek to Block Federal Funds to Arm Teachers, U.S. News and World Report

Southwest Key, Known for Migrant Shelters, Cashes In on Charter Schools, New York Times



How USC’s ‘side door’ allowed unqualified prospective students to gain admission

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

Wealthy California parents undermine push for ‘meritocracy’ in college admissions, EdSource

California can’t afford to skimp on computer science education, CALmatters

Resist efforts to restrict school choice in California, Redlands Daily Facts

Bringing education closer to home helps vulnerable kids, EdSource

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

Education And Career Are Disconnected By Design—Here Is A Roadmap To Fix It, Forbes

74 Interview: Teacher of the Year Finalists on Setting Priorities, Changing Policy, and Taking On a More Political Role, The 74

The Gates Foundation is hoping better curriculum will boost student learning. A new study says, not so fast, Chalkbeat



Read Next