Students at Montebello Gardens Elementary recite the Pledge of Allegiance. The school is part of the Montebello Unified School District.
A tentative ruling Thursday by an LA County Superior Court judge helps clear the path for a statewide lawsuit that seeks to undo major protections for California’s 270,000 teachers.
Judge Rolf Treu ruled that major issues in Vergara versus State of California should be argued in court. The lawsuit claims protections such as permanent status for teachers after a year and a half, teacher job protections greater than other public employees, and last one hired-first one fired rules are depriving students of a constitutionally guaranteed adequate education.
These protections, the lawsuit claims, allow ineffective teachers to remain on the job, and hurt low-income schools during layoffs because there are a lot of new teachers in those schools.
The non-profit Students Matter helped file the lawsuit a year and a half ago. The group was founded by a wealthy, Silicon Valley entrepreneur David Welch who’s also supported a statewide charter school start up group.
Ellyana Benitez, left, and Briana Melgar brush their teeth after lunch. The program the children attend, Options in Monrovia, was one of the first to feel the sequestration cuts losing the afternoon class.
If passed, the bi-partisan federal budget deal will bring some much needed funding back to nation's youngest residents. It could fully restore preschool funding lost to sequestration.
Funding cuts reduced Head Start programs by 57,000 seats nationwide. California's share was 5,600 lost slots. The Congressional compromise, announced this week, would partially - and possibly even fully - restore the cuts. Appropriations committees are working out the spending details now.
"As far as we can tell, Head Start will be treated proportionate to other domestic discretionary programs," and will result in at least a "partial restoration of sequester cuts," said Rick Mockler, Executive Director of the California Head Start Association.
Advocates of early childhood education said the damage caused by the cuts has been severe.
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
Jenny Levin, of U.S. PIRG Public Health Advocate, speaks during a news conference in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013, displaying a toy Captain America shield, right, together with others considered dangerous toys, according to U.S. PIRG’s 28th annual Trouble in Toyland report. Several toys with high lead levels or toys that could cause young children to choke were found at major retailers and discount stores in the last few months, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group said. The consumer safety group analyzed 50 toys for its annual report. Violations were found in just under a dozen, including a Captain America toy shield and play jewelry. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Eyeing that cute, soft, vinyl Marvel Captain America super-hero shield for your toddler this Christmas? Think again, warns a new report that found this shield to have 29 times the legal limit of lead. Also scratch off the list the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pencil case - it has 150 times more than the safe exposure limit of phthalates, a chemical that makes plastic more flexible but causes long term developmental damage to children.
There is no comprehensive government-produced list of dangerous toys, so each year CALPIRG conducts a study of its own to see if popular toys might be hazardous to children. In 28 years of doing this research, CALPIRG's findings on toxic or unsafe toys has led to "over 150 recalls and other regulatory actions," according to the report.
Arts instruction at a Southern California Charter School.
California organizations landed a large slice of funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Wednesday - more than $4 million - with $392,000 of it going toward arts education.
The agency awarded grants to 167 programs and organizations for fiscal year 2014, supporting everything from commissioned plays to creative writing to public murals.
"Whether it is through a focus on education, engagement, or innovation, these projects all contribute to vibrant communities and memorable experiences for the public to engage with the arts," NEA Senior Deputy Chairman Joan Shigekawa wrote in a statement. Nationwide, $25.8 million in funding was awarded.
New York was the only state awarded more funding than California. It received $6,544,500 for 241 grants.
In California, 11 grants were awarded for arts education projects. The city of San Fernando received $57,000 for the Mariachi Master Apprentice Program, which pairs professional musicians with beginning and advanced mariachi students. Workshops for the program take place at San Fernando Middle School and Las Palmas Park.
Update: Since this story was first published, Anaheim City School District has raised almost $2,000 for the orchestra program. About 100 instruments have been donated since the program began - organizers estimate that the district still needs 700 instruments to fully supply the 1,300 students who have signed up to learn music so far.
Anaheim City School District is home to more than 19,000 K through sixth graders, but until this year, the school district didn't own a single musical instrument.
To fix that, it plans to launch an online fundraising campaign through Kickstarter in partnership with the Orange County Symphony to raise money for instruments. It wants to raise at least $100,000 and as much as $150,000 - what it estimates it would cost to create a sustainable orchestra program.