Saugus Union trustee Stephen Winkler was voted off the school board Tuesday night.
The Saugus Union School Board voted Tuesday night to remove one of its members because it's believed he doesn’t live in the district.
The question of Stephen Winkler’s residence was the subject of a months-long investigation. Winkler maintains he lives in Valencia, but the investigation showed he had rented a room in Sylmar, which is not in the district.
“We had actually had a private investigator following him, and the [residence] he said he was living in, he never showed up in," said board member Doug Bryce." And the [residence] down in Sylmar, he did show up several times."
Winkler has been the center of controversy recently for alleged improper online activity, including subscribing to several Nazi-themed videos on YouTube.
The board voted 4-1 to vacate his seat. Winkler was the lone “no” vote.
It's a weekday afternoon and about 20 acting students are sitting in chairs with their eyes fixed on a TV at the front of the room. The group is watching a recording of a classmate’s monologue. Aspiring actor Michael Tingley is offering feedback to his classmate.
"I missed it, I don't know if anyone else did," Michael says, referring to what he describes as one of the most important beats in the piece, which he says his colleague didn't handle quite right.
All of the actors in the room are taking the lesson very seriously. But this isn’t your average L.A. acting class. In fact, it's quite a ways from Hollywood, down in Santa Ana.
Michael is just 17, and the class is part of a regular day at his public high school – the Orange County School of the Arts, commonly referred to as OCSA (pronounced OH-shuh). He is one of thousands of aspiring actors who attend performing arts high schools in the region. Like many of the top schools, OCSA has seen a big boost in interest.
A fifth grade classroom at San Pedro Street Elementary.
A study out Tuesday by the National Council on Teacher Quality concluded that many teacher education programs in California and nationwide are mediocre and not worth attending.
The NCTQ examined more than a thousand programs for the study. The group’s president, Kate Walsh, says schools should be more selective of who they admit. Once in, Walsh said, training of future teachers is inadequate.
“Seventy percent of the institutions, of the programs in our sample, do not require their elementary (school) teacher to ever take a single science course,” she said.
Walsh said teacher education at UCLA and Loyola Marymount University falls under the mediocre category, a claim leaders at those institutions disagree with.
David Rattray of the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce says the teacher training study is flawed. His group’s working with 11 Southland teacher training programs.
ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images
Teachers, parents, supporters and students picketed outside Crenshaw High School to protest teacher layoffs in May, 2009.
Students at Crenshaw High School will have a lot of new teachers when they return to school in the fall. That’s because roughly half of the school’s teachers were not rehired as part of a campus reorganization ordered by Superintendent John Deasy.
The reorganization closed the chronically low-performing school and transformed into three magnets: Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA); Business Entrepreneurship Technology (BET); and Science, Technology, Engineering, Math & Medicine (STEMM) academies.
A magnet program for gifted students that was already at the school was also closed. Its students will be folded into the new magnets.
“These three were selected by the community as a way of enticing those students that live in the Crenshaw attendance area to come to Crenshaw and not get on a bus and go off to another non-Crenshaw school,” said George Bartleson, director of Intensive Support and Intervention at LAUSD.
A Los Angeles Unified school board meeting in Oct. 2012.
California’s Parent Trigger law has been used five times to try and overhaul low-performing schools. Three of those were in the L.A. Unified School District. School board member Steve Zimmer has proposed a resolution up for a vote at Tuesday’s meeting calling for new restrictions. (Check back later today for updates on the board's actions.)
Under the Parent Trigger law, when a majority of parents sign a petition, those parents get to decide how to restructure a school where test scores fall far below the state average.
Reforms can include removing the principal, asking a charter school company to run it, or other changes.
Board member Steve Zimmer believes the process is flawed.
“I’m concerned that everyone has access to accurate information. I’m concerned that everybody gets to participate in the process," Zimmer said. "I’m concerned that we’re focusing on the schools that objectively need this type of transformation the most.”