Morning Read: Bus crash investigations moves to LA

Deadly bus crash: Bulk of investigation shifts to Los Angeles
The investigation into what caused a FedEx freight truck to cross a median and slam into a charter bus in Northern California, killing 10 people, is shifting to Los Angeles. On the itinerary for investigators: meeting with Silverado Stages, the company that owned and operated the bus involved in the collision, and interviewing student survivors of the accident, mainly in the Los Angeles area. LA Times


More non-profits teaching parents to read with children
Uriel is one of nearly 100 children in East Palo Alto who receive free books and private tutoring through the nonprofit 10 Books A Home, in exchange for a commitment from his mother: She reads with him every day. Programs such as 10 Books a Home, which focus on improving early reading skills by engaging parents, are spreading in California. EdSource


Mobile classroom rolls out to teach students about L.A. River
The contrast between nostalgia for the Los Angeles River and the reality of it today could not be sharper than at its confluence with the Arroyo Seco, a big, desolate flood-control channel strewn with trash and hemmed by freeways, power lines and railroad yards. LA Times


All schools should have good teachers
Commentary: It’s nice to know that tens of millions of extra dollars will go to 37 low-income schools after the Los Angeles Unified School District settled a class-action suit on behalf of students. But the lawsuit, undertaken by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups, was never about money; it was about policies that require teachers with the least seniority to be laid off first when there are staff reductions. LA Times

L.A. teachers union president ready to step aside for challenger

Los Angeles Times logoVia the Los Angeles Times |  By Howard Blume

Los Angeles teachers’ union president Warren Fletcher said he will no longer actively campaign for reelection, clearing the path for challenger Alex Caputo-Pearl to become the next leader of United Teachers Los Angeles.

In the first round of voting in March, Caputo-Pearl received 48% of the votes and Fletcher 21%. The runoff election takes place this month with ballots set to be counted April 29.

In an interview Sunday, Fletcher said he has not formally suspended his campaign, and that he would serve again if he won. But the one-term incumbent emphasized that he has accepted the near inevitable.

Read the full story here.

 

 

 

Bus crash update: LAUSD offers no names of dead and injured*

LAUSD Supt. John Deasy Bus Crash

Via @NBCLA

LA Unified officials had no additional information by mid-day on the fate of 19 students from 16 LAUSD high schools who were on the bus involved in a fatal crash yesterday, heading to Humboldt State University.

Superintendent John Deasy met with reporters at a noon press conference but couldn’t offer much beyond reports of earlier in the day.

The authorities confirmed that 10 people died, five of them students, but LAUSD has been unable to say whether any of them were from the district’s schools.

The district identified the students’ high schools as San Fernando, Grant, Dorsey, Fremont, City of Angels, Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools, Manual Arts, Banning, Carson, Chavez, Diego Rivera, Belmont, Wilson, Chatsworth, Jefferson High and Middle College.

The district has set up a support fund to help LAUSD families affected by the crash. The website is here.

*Adds information on family support fund.

Commentary: Mayor Garcetti’s elephant in the room

Via KPCC

Via KPCC

In his first State of the City speech, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti laid out a plan to boost job creation, safety and the city’s ability to compete in a global economy.

Noticeably absent, however, was any mention of the vast education challenges facing the city.

The Mayor’s vision of Los Angeles was notable for its optimism and his passion. And the half-hour speech (transcript here) was heavy on specifics — including a focus on neighborhood improvements, DWP rates and carpool lanes. He cited how he “pushed and prodded” the feds to open a lane on the 405 earlier than expected, and he pledged to “pave more streets and fix more sidewalks.”

But wait, is he talking . . . potholes?

I couldn’t help but flash back to my home town, Chicago, where the late Mayor Richard J. Daley, ran the city with an iron fist for more than 20 years in the 60s and 70s. Boss Daley knew how to fill a pothole, but sadly, at the same time he presided over a disastrous decline in the city’s pubic education system.

Mayor Garcetti’s goal, of “building a better city,” while admirable, is ultimately not achievable without addressing the elephant in the room — education — and his hands-off approach is bad for students, parents and ultimately the economy. The recent departure of Thelma Melendez, who carried the title of education deputy but in practice was almost invisible makes matters worse. And, so far, he hasn’t named a replacement.

Granted, the mayor’s office in Los Angeles officially exerts very little control over the vast LA Unified School District, run by an often fractured seven-member elected board. But that didn’t stop Garcetti’s predecessors from using the bully pulpit to try and enhance the educational opportunities for city students. The outgoing Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, who considered improving public education his mission, devoted a large portion of his 2013 State of the City address to education and saw it as vitally linked to job-growth and the economy.

The district is slowly improving, but challenges like high dropout rates and low student achievement are so profound that it’s hard to argue that all hands should not be on deck, especially those of the mayor.

And the excuse of not having mayoral control? Well, the last time I looked, the mayor doesn’t have much influence on the 405 federal highway project, either.

With post-trial briefs in, Vergara 90-day clock starts ticking

Judge Rolf Treu Vergara

Judge Rolf Treu

Just in case Judge Rolf Treu might have missed anything during the two months of Vergara v. California, a battle over teacher employment protections that concluded last month, the parties filed their post-trial briefs yesterday, each making one last effort to influence Judge Treu’s decision.

At issue are five state laws that govern tenure, dismissal and seniority. Defendants want to keep them. Plaintiffs want them struck down. He now has 90 days to decide who wins.

Each side echoed the same themes from closing arguments:

“In two months of trial, Plaintiffs proved that the Challenged Statutes are creating vast and unjustified inequalities in the educational opportunities being afforded to students across California,” lawyers for the nine student-plaintiffs wrote.

“It is remarkable that after a month of testimony from twenty-two different witnesses, Plaintiffs have been unable to answer the most basic questions surrounding their theory that the Challenged Statutes cause the hiring and retention of ‘grossly ineffective’ teachers in California public schools,” said lawyers for the state.

“After a lengthy trial, Plaintiffs are entirely unable to prove their unprecedented equal protection claims,” said lawyers for the intervenors — the California Teachers Association (CTA) and the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) — who joined the state in defense.

The entire 30-plus page filings can be found here (plaintiffs), here (defense) and here (intervenors).

Morning Read: LAUSD students in fatal California bus crash

California bus crash: 5 students among 10 killed; at least 30 injured
Los Angeles Unified officials said Friday that 19 of its students were aboard the bus that collided with a FedEx freight truck in Northern California. At least 10 people were killed in the fiery crash. Officials have not released the identities of those killed in the crash, which occurred shortly after 5:30 p.m. Thursday when the FedEx truck crossed a grassy median on Interstate 5 and slammed into the bus packed with students en route to Humboldt State University. LA Times


High-paid South Bay schools superintendent is put on leave
A South Bay schools superintendent who attracted scrutiny for his $674,559 pay was placed on administrative leave this week, pending an internal investigation. The Centinela Valley Union High School District board voted 5-0 to suspend Supt. Jose Fernandez during an abruptly called, closed-door meeting at the Centinela Valley Center for the Arts in Lawndale on Wednesday evening. LA Times


Legislation to strengthen reporting by California teachers makes gains
Two bills — one to strengthen teachers’ mandated reporting requirements and the other to provide additional funding for new state education standards — were approved by the Assembly Education Committee. Both pieces of legislation were authored by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, and are now headed to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. San Jose Mercury


Why academic credentials matter
Commentary: Los Angeles Unified school board candidate Genethia Hudley-Hayes recently was accused of falsifying academic credentials on her resume in her quest to fill the seat vacated after member Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte died in December. The seriousness of these allegations cannot be overstated, particularly in a race for school board in the district where the majority of Los Angeles’ black students attend public school. LA Wave


LAUSD should let this science teacher teach
Commentary: In February, Los Angeles Unified School District officials suspended a teacher after two of his students turned in science projects that administrators thought looked like guns. Even granting that school officials have a right to be hypersensitive these days about anything resembling a weapon, their decision to remove him from the classroom was a harmful overreaction. LA Times

Sacramento City Unified won’t renew NCLB waiver

947ff2df8b9acd4f6b4187e5b1d44046Via EdSource | By John Fensterwald

Faced with intense opposition from teachers, Sacramento City Unified announced Wednesday it would not join other California districts in reapplying for a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Its defection leaves seven of eight districts seeking to extend a waiver from the federal accountability law through the California Office to Reform Education, a nonprofit that they formed. The waiver they got last year was the first for school districts, as opposed to a state department of education.

The CORE districts applied because California was one of only four states that either didn’t seek a waiver or had its request rejected.

Read the full story here.

Rousseau to LAUSD board: Native English students left behind

Sylvia Rousseau, Liaison LAUSD Board District 1

Sylvia Rousseau, Liaison LAUSD Board District 1

After less than two months on her temporary position as liaison for LA Unified’s District 1, Sylvia Rousseau says she’s figured out how to improve the academic performance of the most troubled schools: zero in on what’s called Standard English Learners.

Rousseau, a USC professor and former local superintendent in the district who was appointed to serve until a District 1 board member is elected later this year, told the board this week she approached the issue as a researcher, reviewing data for the schools in the region, most of them with high concentrations of students from low-income families.

Her conclusion: improving English was the best way to accelerate overall academic performance. That includes Standard English Learners, native speakers who do not possess a mastery of the language. They are separate from English Learners, who are students learning English as a new language (Here is her presentation to the board.)

“The discrepancies are immediately obvious,” she told the board in a long presentation of her analysis of the district. “There is a whole group of students whose right to language is not being recognized, and they are Standard English learners. We know, through extensive research that the syntax, the chronology and the grammar of that language is significantly different from that of the academic language of the classroom.”

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Morning Read: Glitches slowing use of Common Core tests

As testing gains steam, help center ‘inundated’ with teacher calls
It’s week three for California’s new web-based standardized tests and some schools are reporting hair-pulling moments. “Our students are becoming frustrated,” said Bonnie Tanaka, principal of Madrid Middle School in El Monte. She said screens are freezing up, and – unlike what was promised – tests don’t resume where a student’s left off after a break, and students can’t review previous answers. KPCC


Report: Part-time, fractured LA school board unacceptable
Los Angeles Unified School board members are taking issue with a report that suggests one way to improve district schools is to give the mayor control. “The implication is that there’s much success in other places and the evidence to that just doesn’t exist,” board member Steve Zimmer said. “We have mayoral control in New York and Chicago, and they are still struggling.” KPCC


Science teacher’s suspension spurs petition drive
A popular Los Angeles high school science teacher has been suspended after students turned in projects that appeared dangerous to administrators, spurring a campaign calling for his return to the classroom. Students and parents have rallied around Greg Schiller after his suspension in February from the downtown Cortines School of Visual & Performing Arts. LA Times


Measure backed to pay half of school transit costs
A bill that would increase state support of school transportation to at least half of a district’s costs won the approval Wednesday of a key legislative panel, which rejected a second proposal to pay 100 percent of a district’s bussing costs. The Senate Education Committee also endorsed two major pieces of legislation aimed at boosting California’s commitment to increasing learning opportunities for children from birth through age five. S&I Cabinet Report


California teachers union blinks on discipline bill
Commentary: The threat of a ballot initiative did the trick, persuading the California Teachers Association to negotiate a new process for teacher dismissal. EdVoice, an educational advocacy group based in West Sacramento, titled its proposed initiative: “Stop Child Molesters, Sexual Abusers and Drug Dealers from Working in California Schools Act.” Merced Sun-Star

Youth asks LAUSD, ‘Where does all the money go?’ in song

BHC Boyle Heights Youth Song Lyrics about LCFF

Song Lyrics composed by youth at BHC Boyle Heights (Photo by Gaby, age 15, from the Las Fotos Project)

Community groups big and small, have responded collectively to the extra $332 million coming into the district via the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), Governor Jerry Brown‘s signature K-through-12 education initiative.

For now, only a few schools have complete autonomy in deciding how the money should be used although more will gain the freedom over the next few years.

At Building Healthier Communities (BHC) Boyle Heights, which is part of a 10-year, $1 billion program of The California Endowment, the youth have composed a song that asks LAUSD, “Where does all the money go?” in reference to the distribution of LCFF money.

The song will be presented at Saludarte, an event produced by our collaborative in partnership with the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, on April 26 at Hollenbeck Park in Boyle Heights. LA School Report has transcribe the lyrics below for your reading pleasure.

(Verse)

Where does all the money go?
To our children? Bureaucracy?
Or to the “Fat Cat”?

It’s a political mirage, an illusion,
That a gift is being given.

(Refrain)
(A slight of hand that’s the trick)

Wait a minute! Lights on!
Recognize you have to deal with us
Our presence, our collective dreams
For our children

(Lights on!)

We will not surrender,
Physically, mentally
We are present!
Answering the call to action
In our homes, in our schools,
In our communities, in our board rooms.

UTLA raises may be on the horizon but not negotiations

Vivian Ekchian, LA Unifie'd chief labor negotiator

Vivian Ekchian, LA Unifie’d chief labor negotiator

Within LA Unified’s proposed budget for 2014-2015, Superintendent John Deasy includes a line item for teacher raises.

However, in the absence of a contract for the last three years between the district and the teachers union, United Teachers of Los Angeles, labor talks remain at a complete standstill, raising questions about just how much remains “TBD.”

“Neither UTLA nor the District has initiated negotiations for any re-opener or successor agreements at this time,” Vivian Ekchian, chief labor negotiator for LA Unified, told LA School Report.  

Teachers are working on a temporary contract. UTLA’s last agreement with the district ended in 2011, and Ekchian says their contract is extended on a day-to-day basis.

“It’s difficult to estimate a timeline with an ending date, but it certainly will be very sensitive to the needs of our employees,” Ekchian said.

UTLA is seeking a 17.6 percent salary increase over an unspecified amount of time, though the average contract lasts three years.

“It’s been more than a year since California voters approved Proposition 30, the tax increase that is bringing millions of new dollars into the District,” UTLA said in a statement shortly after voting for the salary boost.

The state’s new school Local Control Funding Formula is also generating hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue over the next seven years.

Union members last received a cost of living increase in 2007. They also agreed to 16 furlough days throughout the recession, with “each day equaling about half a percent of pay,” according to UTLA President Warren Fletcher.

Deasy, yesterday, thanked all district employees for their “sacrifices” during the budget crisis.

After walking the school board through his budget, he added, ”Many employees have not had raises in six to seven years and it’s important to address that.”

LA 2020 Commission calls for ‘bold steps’ to improve LAUSD

imagesAn LA City Council commission charged with providing a blueprint for the future of the city released its second report today, this one offering recommendations to move Los Angeles toward fiscal solvency and greater job creation.

The Los Angeles 2020 Commission’s report, “A Time for Action,” largely focuses on issues related to jobs, budgets and transportation. But it also has a few critical words to say about public education even though the Los Angeles Unified School District is outside the purview of city government.

In its overarching view, the commission found, “Public education falls far short of the mark, yet there continues to be a lack of support in the community for the bold steps that need to be taken to prepare kids in our community to succeed.”

It further concludes, “We cannot continue to fail to educate so many of our young people. Our community must begin to recognize education is the civil rights issue of our time, and do more, much more, to support those working to bring about meaningful change in our public education system.”

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Morning Read: LAUSD to spend $837M on low-income students

LAUSD plans to spend $837 million on disadvantaged students
Disadvantaged students in L.A. Unified stand to benefit from a multimillion-dollar infusion for more tutoring, counselors, English language coaches, nurses, librarians and other support under a budget plan presented Tuesday. In the opening salvo in a two-month process under the state’s new school finance system, L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy presented the district’s first detailed blueprint for spending $837 million specifically aimed at boosting services for students who are low-income, learning English and in foster care. LA Times


2 Santa Monica students arrested after a fight with teacher
Two Santa Monica High School students arrested after a violent confrontation between a student and teacher are due in court Tuesday. A video that captured the incident shows teacher Mark Black, who is also the wrestling coach, pinning a student to the ground. Students said he was trying to confiscate something drug-related from a student when the incident occurred. KABC


For many teens, formal sex education comes too late, CDC report says
Health experts have some simple advice for reducing the teen birthrate in the U.S. — make sure teens learn about abstinence and birth control before they start having sex. It sounds obvious, but it’s obviously needed, according to a report released Tuesday by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. LA Times


Faced with an initiative, teachers union blinks on discipline bill
Commentary: The threat of a ballot initiative did the trick, persuading the California Teachers Association to negotiate a new process for teacher dismissal. EdVoice, an educational advocacy group based in West Sacramento, titled its proposed initiative: “Stop Child Molesters, Sexual Abusers and Drug Dealers from Working in California Schools Act.” Sacramento Bee

New settlement reached on lawsuit challenging teacher layoffs

Reed v. State of CA

A new settlement has been reached in a lawsuit challenging budget-base layoffs, marking a major breakthrough in a long-fought case.

The settlement, aimed at addressing inequities at low-performing schools, will provide a huge boost in resources to 37 schools that have long struggled with high teacher turnover, student drop-out rates and low student achievement. The LAUSD school board will consider approving the agreement at a meeting on April 22, after which it goes before a state Superior Court for final approval.

Originally seen as a challenge to teacher seniority, Reed vs. California was filed in 2009 by the ACLU on behalf of students at three low-income schools against the state and the LA Unified school district, alleging that widespread seniority-based layoffs enacted during the budget crisis of 2008 – 2009 disproportionately affected low income and minority students, depriving them of equal access to a quality education.

In 2011, the court issued a ruling in the case, protecting 45 low-income schools from   budget-based layoffs, a direct challenge to the existing practice of basing teacher layoffs solely on seniority. That ruling was overturned on appeal and later remanded back to state court.

Under the terms of the new agreement, the result of a long negotiation between LAUSD, the Los Angeles Teachers Union (UTLA), the Administrators Association and a group of LAUSD schools that operate through the non-profit, Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, a host of new resources will be allocated to 37 affected schools. though the underlying practice of seniority is not challenged.

“The youth in greatest peril at these schools will benefit tremendously.” Superintendent John Deasy said. “These are invaluable investments, aligned with the goals of the Local Control Funding Formula, which will make a difference in transforming these schools and bring justice to our youth.”

Each school will receive new mentor teachers, another administrator, additional counselors or social workers, additional assistant principals, support positions for special education students, support for special training at each of the schools, incentives for leadership stability, and more planning time for new teachers.

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LAUSD board approves a student voice, but not how to get it

Steve Zimmer LAUSD Board Meeting 4-8-2014

Steve Zimmer LAUSD Board Meeting 4-8-2014

A grand plan by Steve Zimmer and Bennett Kayser to put a student voice on the LA Unified School Board hit a road block today when the board accepted the idea in principle but delayed adopting a plan for how to do it.

In a 50-minute debate, board member Tamar Galatzan was the first to lead the charge against their Student Engagement and Empowerment resolution, which would have required Superintendent John Deasy to develop a plan that included a seven member student advisory board and a district-wide student Congress.

But the effort went down in a 4-2 vote over objections to doing anything more than acknowledging the certainty of creating a student advisory position for the board something during the 2014-2015 academic year.

“I don’t know why we need to create this giant bureaucracy of student advice when the education code is much simpler,” said Galatzan, who voted with Monica Garcia, Monica Ratliff and Board President RIchard Vladovic to defeat the resolution.

Garcia quickly proposed an alternative approach: Accept the petition presented to the board — 1,500 student signatures calling for the addition of a student representative, as required by the California education code — and authorize Deasy to recommend within 120 days the best way to accomplish the effort.

That was passed, 5-1, with Zimmer as the holdout.

After the board meeting, Zimmer told LA School Report, he was disappointed in his colleagues who chose to meet only the minimum standards required by the state.

“I hope that the students who participated in the process don’t feel deflated by democracy,” he said. And he encouraged them to view it as a partial victory.

“The good news,” he said, “is that there will be a student here and that’s going to make this a better board of education.”

LA Unified board to Deasy on budget: ‘go further, faster’

Superintendent John Deasy, explaining the budget

Superintendent John Deasy, explaining the budget

Months in the making, LA Unified’s $6.8 billion budget, along with an extra $332 million through the Local Control Funding Formula, finally reached the school board today, as Superintendent John Deasy walked the members through its highlights, pointing to dozens of areas where the new money is going.

His presentation was the featured attraction at a monthly meeting that included Sylvia Rousseau addressing the six members for the first time in her capacity as temporary, non-voting representative for the board’s District 1. She gave an overview of the needs of her district as guidance for the budget negotiations ahead.

Overall, the board members appeared reasonably receptive to Deasy’s approach to using the new money for three specific groups of students, as required by California law — those from low-income families, foster youth and English learners.

The budget, he said, “will restore and improve targeted resources for the youth who need the resources the most,” he said.

But members’ questions, although laden with compliments for such a massive undertaking, reflected a consensus that they want to see him go further faster.

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Vergara teacher tenure case: point counterpoint

EdWeekEdweek has done a nice job providing opposing perspectives on the potential outcome of the Vergara v. California case, a lawsuit challenging the state’s teacher tenure and job protection laws.

Below are the two articles, the first of which claims that the case is a lose-lose for the plaintiffs and defendants, while the second lauds it as a revolution in education equality.

 

Why Vergara Is a Loser for Both Sides
Via Education Week | David Menefee-Libey and Charles Taylor Kerchner

The two contending sides wrapped up their cases last week in Vergara vs California, the education lawsuit being tried in Judge Rolf Treu’s Los Angeles Superior Courtroom. Treu has ninety days to make his ruling.

But from our perspective this is a case that the plaintiffs can’t win and the defendants will lose regardless of the outcome.

Vergara went to trial in January, with Beatriz Vergara and eight other school children suing to overturn the state’s teacher tenure and job protection laws.  Represented in court by former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson and a team of star attorneys not accustomed to losing cases, the plaintiffs argue that those laws play out in classrooms and schools in ways that violate students’ rights to access equal education under the California constitution.
Read the full story, here.


Former LAUSD Leaders: Vergara Case a Turning Point in Education Equality
Via Education Week | Marlene Canter and Roy Romer

In all our years and roles in education, we’ve experienced firsthand almost every challenge facing our public school students. We’ve also seen many educational reforms that purport to solve those challenges come and go with varying levels of success.  Roy led the first ever National Goals Panel on education in the 80s, and focused on education as chair of the National Governors Association before becoming Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).  And Marlene, who was a special education teacher in LAUSD, co-founded a firm that became a very successful provider of teacher training materials, led the LAUSD Board through major transition just a few years ago, and is now the Board Chair for Green Dot Public Schools.

There is no “silver bullet” for education–one idea that will instantly fix everything–but we’ve become involved in something recently that perhaps comes the closest to a silver bullet as we’ve seen in our long careers.  A lawsuit currently pending the court’s decision has the potential to dramatically improve educational outcomes for every single student in California, especially our neediest students, and potentially in other states.

Read the full story, here.

Groups stage a rally to show impact of LAUSD drop outs

Student Rally LAUSD Budget empty desks (1)

The sound of classroom silence.

As part of a rally by parents, education advocates and civil rights groups who represent Communities for Los Angeles Student Success, or CLASS, 375 desks were set up this morning at the LAUSD headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.

With downtown LA’s skyline as the backdrop, the empty desks represented the number of LAUSD school students who drop out of school each week, organizers said. The desks were placed along Beaudry Ave., which was closed to traffic for the rally, and were clearly visible to those attending today’s school board meeting.

 

 

LIVESTREAM coverage of today’s LAUSD school board meeting: budget a top priority

Community rally on school funding, April 7 2014

Community rally on school funding, April 7 2014

This morning, the Los Angeles Unified School Board meets to discuss a wide variety of issues including what promises to be a charged debate about a budget plan unveiled by Superintendent John Deasy last week.

Community groups have held a series of meetings and rallies, including one last night, advocating for a say in the budget process – which includes the use of new ‘Local Control’ funding.

To download the superintendent’s budget and presentation click here.
For the school board agenda, click here.

The meeting starts at 10:00 a.m.

To watch it via LIVESTREAM click HERE.


 

Morning Read: Hundreds of students protest LAUSD budget

Groups protest LAUSD spending priorities
Several hundred students protested Los Angeles Unified’s proposed budget Monday, claiming poor pupils and schools will receive too little funding. Protest organizer Marqueece Harris-Dawson, president of the Community Coalition, said the district’s spending plan is too vague and does too little for kids who need help the most. LA Daily News


Districts develop goals for foster youth
As districts set their goals for the next school year and allocate funding under the new California school finance system, they have to consider for the first time a small, highly at-risk subset of students: youth in foster care. Under the new Local Control Funding Formula, districts must develop Local Control and Accountability (LCAP) plans, and they must give particular consideration to the needs of English learners, students from low-income families, and students in foster care. EdSource


L.A. Unified students want one of their own on school board
The board is expected to vote Tuesday on a proposal to allow a student advisory member on the board. The student, who would be elected by his or her peers, would not have actual voting power or be allowed in closed-session meetings. Instead, the student would provide guidance on issues and cast an advisory vote just before the official vote. LA Times


Santa Monica school official apologizes for remarks on teacher in fight
Santa Monica’s school superintendent has apologized for comments she made after placing a popular science teacher on leave for getting into a physical altercation with a student. In a statement sent to the “community” over the weekend, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Superintendent Sandra Lyon acknowledged that her remarks about the teacher and wrestling coach have “caused great anger.” LA Times


To curb school lunch waste, ease the fruit and vegetable rules
Commentary: No one should have expected that putting more vegetables in front of elementary school students would instantly turn them into an army of broccoli fans. Plenty of food has been thrown out since new federal rules took effect in 2011 requiring students in the subsidized school lunch program to choose a fruit or vegetable each day. Nevertheless, studies find that continued exposure to produce is resulting in more children eating at least some of it. LA Times