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

Parents invoke trigger to shake up failing LA Unified school

LAUSD

Vanessa Romo/KPCC

Parents of children at 24th Street Elementary held up placards for passing motorists as they descended upon LAUSD headquarters Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 to deliver a petition to take over the failing school.

Hundreds of parents from a West Adams elementary school on Thursday invoked the “Parent Trigger” law to take over the failing 24th Street Elementary school. It's the first attempt to use the controversial law in L.A. Unified since it was passed in 2010 -- and could mark a turning point for parent-reform advocates. 

Amabilia Villeda, the leader of the Padres de 24 Parent Union leading the effort, handed Superintendent John Deasy some of the signatures she’d been gathering over the last nine months in a door-to-door campaign.
 
“I hope now you’ll hear us,” she said.

The school in the Historic West Adams neighborhood has a slew of problems. It’s one of the worst performing in the state and in the bottom 2% of the district. Two in three students can’t read at grade level and it has the second highest suspension rate for elementary schools in all of LAUSD. Villeda said parents want a new principal and experienced teachers.

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LAUSD's Crenshaw High to become 3 magnet schools

Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy  sp

AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy, seen here in a file photo, told Crenshaw parents "the quality of instruction is not what it needs to be.”

L.A. Unified voted Tuesday to revamp Crenshaw High School – one of the worst performing schools in the district. But the plan has some parents and teachers up in arms.

Crenshaw’s 1,500 students will be split into three separate magnet schools. While officials are still working out the details, they told parents last month that the magnet programs are likely to focus on the arts, business and science, and technology, engineering and math.

All six school board members present at the monthly meeting voted unanimously to back Superintendent John Deasy. They agreed that the only way to improve the school’s abysmal academic scores is to scrap its current program.

But parents and students who’d waited more than four hours to speak against the plan could not contain their anger over the board’s decision. They sparred with board president Monica Garcia and member Marguerite LaMotte, who represents Crenshaw and voted in favor of the overhaul.

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Parents plan protest of Deasy's plans for Crenshaw High School

School Shooting

Nick Ut/AP

After months of uncertainty, the future of Crenshaw High School will likely be decided at Tuesday's  monthly L.A. Unified school board meeting.

The board will vote on whether to approve Superintendent John Deasy’s plan to convert the high school into three separate magnet schools or allow it to continue operating under the Extended Learning Cultural Model. If it passes, it also means all current staff has to reapply for jobs at the South Los Angeles school.

Parents, students and teachers say they were excluded from the decision making process, and have so far been denied a public meeting with the Superintendent. Tuesday’s meeting is their last chance to block Deasy’s plans.

Members of the Crenshaw Coalition of Parents said they’ll stage a protest and urge board members not just to reverse the school takeover, but also to increase the school’s funding to pay for more social services, college counseling and parent engagement.

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Parents to hear about future of Crenshaw High School

Crenshaw High School may soon go the way of Dorsey, Manual Arts and Westchester high schools; it could face a district takeover as early as next year.

Over the summer, LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy suggested Crenshaw, with its persistently low test scores, is eligible for "reconstitution," wherein the district can layoff the entire staff. The district can take over a school when it fails to meet state-mandated educational benchmarks under the federal No Child Left Behind act. Teachers who want to stay would have to reapply for their jobs.

Stakeholders say district officials are proposing restructuring the South L.A. school into three separate magnet programs. But officials have not explained how that might happen, leaving parents, students and teachers with a lot of questions.

They hope to get some answers tonight at a public meeting at 7 pm at the Crenshaw High School library. (5010 11th Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90043)

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California legislator vows to reintroduce bill to speed teacher firing for abuse

Protestors march near Miramonte Elementa

AFP/AFP/Getty Images

A California state senator vowed to reintroduce a bill to make it easier to fire a teacher accused of sexually abusing a student.

A California state senator said he plans to reintroduce a bill Monday that would make it easier to fire a teacher accused of sexually abusing a student. His statements came the day after a state audit on L.A. Unified's child abuse procedures found the lengthy dismissal process increased the district's likelihood of settling the allegations in exchange for resignations.

California state Sen. Alex Padilla of Pacoima authored the bill, SB1530, which was allowed to die in the California Assembly Education Committee in June. It was one of three bills introduced in that session in response to a spate of sexual misconduct cases in L.A. Unified.

"The State Auditor confirms that the dismissal process established in state law is inconsistent, too lengthy, too costly and delays the timely resolution of child abuse cases," Padilla said in a statement Friday. "While the audit was specific to Los Angeles Unified School District it is clear to me that this is an issue of statewide concern.”

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