So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

Displaced Huntington Beach students return to campus after asbestos cleanup

Asbestos Signage

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

A sign warns of asbestos danger at a former Royal Mail sorting office on October 11, 2013 in London, England.

As hundreds of students went back to their Huntington Beach elementary school Tuesday after spending most of the school year away due to asbestos cleaning, others remain scattered at other campuses, waiting to return.

Students in 2nd through 5th grade showed up at Oak View Elementary School after three months away from the campus while workers removed the cancer-causing building material from school classrooms.

The students will attend classes in portable buildings, NBC4 reported. Kindergarteners and 1st-graders remain at other schools, with their return not expected until later this year.

Students at two other schools, Lake View Elementary and Hope View Elementary, also are attending other campuses while the school district attempts to resolve the asbestos problem. The cleanup has cost the 9,200-student Ocean View School District millions of dollars.


California officials preparing for rise in new teacher jobs

Teacher credentials

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

Felipe Golez, California State University education professor, talks to student teachers about future job prospects.

Over the past seven years, enrollment in higher education programs that prepare candidates for teaching plummeted sharply. Teacher layoffs and fewer openings kept many away from the profession.

With the economy now improving, school districts have ramped up hiring and California is poised for a turnabout in teacher credentialing.

“Perhaps a decade ago, we were issuing 26,000 teaching credentials. In the 2012-2013 year, it was just over 15,000,” said Mary Vixie Sandy, the executive director of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, the state agency that certifies teachers.

Today, school districts are again putting out the help-wanted signs, says Cindy Grutzik, associate dean for undergraduate and post-baccalaureate programs at California State University, Long Beach, College of Education.


What parents need to know about children's brains on music

Music and the brain

Sandra Oshiro/KPCC

Daniel Gomez of the Boyle Heights Community Youth Orchestra plays for the audience at a Crawford Family Forum event Sunday on music and the brain.

Music and the brain

Sandra Oshiro/KPCC

Members of the Boyle Heights Community Youth Orchestra perform at KPCC's event on music and the brain on Sunday at the Crawford Family Forum.

Music and the brain

Sandra Oshiro/KPCC

KPCC education reporter Mary Plummer moderates a panel on music and the brain in the Crawford Family Forum on Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015.

If you learned how to play a recorder or ukelele in school, you may have built up brain functions that boosted your ability to do better in school, especially if you kept up with practice.

Latest neuroscience studies by noted researcher Nina Kraus of Northwestern University suggest learning a musical instrument helps children boost their auditory processing, meaning they get better at things like communication and literacy skills. 

It was only after two years, however, that the benefits of practicing became clear in a recent study, Kraus said at KPCC's "Music and the Brain" event at the Crawford Family Forum Sunday. 

Her research on music and the brain suggests children achieve big gains if they are actively learning to play an instrument, and not just listening to music.

Kraus' study of students at Los Angeles' Harmony Project, a nonprofit that provides music education to low-income youth, found the benefits didn't come immediately for students who practiced in class five days a week.


Biden's push for free community college tuition gets lukewarm response

Biden Community College

AP/Jae C. Hong

Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a roundtable discussion held at West Los Angeles College in Culver City, California.

Vice President Joe Biden visited West Los Angeles College Friday to stump for the Obama administration's free community college tuition proposal, but some of the feedback he got suggests the idea may be missing its mark in California.

Biden sat down with students, college administrators, and elected officials to promote the idea of expanding college access by offering two years' tuition to qualified students.

He said 12 years of education isn’t enough for students to get a good job, or to improve the country's competitiveness. "Any country that out educates us will out compete us," he said. 

But Stephanie Jara, who is studying to become a dental hygienist, was skeptical that the tuition proposal would have broad impact.

"Some people will benefit from it," she said. "I’m not sure that everybody needs it, but I think for the people who can’t afford it, the people who live day-by-day that, you know, have minimum wage jobs — it’s going to help those people."


Getty Museum offers new arts ed teaching tools

Travel Destination: Western USA

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The Getty Museum and Teaching Channel have created videos for educators on using art to teach Common Core standards.

The J. Paul Getty Museum has produced a new video series aimed at helping educators work the arts into their teaching based on new standards known as the Common Core.

The 19 videos, released as a free online resource this week, were produced in partnership with the nonprofit website Teaching Channel.

RELATED: What are your questions about the Common Core?

“Arts integration is a powerful tool for student learning, and we’re committed to providing teachers with the resources they need to integrate the arts into the Common Core curriculum,” said Elizabeth Escamilla, Getty's acting assistant director for education, in a written statement. 

Students and teachers from the Los Angeles Unified School District and Hawthorne School District are featured in the videos, which offer tips on melding the arts with language arts and other topics.