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

LAUSD warned about hiring disgraced priest

Cardinal Roger Mahony Celebrates Christmas Mass At The Cathedral Of Our Lady Of The Angels

Eric Thayer/Getty Images

Now-retired Cardinal Roger Mahony in 2010, when he lead a Christmas mass at The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Records show he was kept abreast of allegations against Pina.

Officials with LA’s Roman Catholic Archdiocese said they warned Los Angeles Unified School District not to hire a former priest who’d admitted to a sexual relationship with a minor. 

LA Unified had actually initiated the conversation. In 2001, school officials asked the church: Does former priest Joseph Piña carry out all job duties in an ethical and safe manner?

The answer from the Archdiocese: No.

Spokesman Tod Tamberg said the church elaborated, writing: “Mr. Pina has many fine qualities but is not the most stable of individuals. I would not recommend him for a position in the schools.”

LAUSD hired him anyway. Piña worked for the district as a Community Organizer from 2002 through 2012, when he was laid off. 

In that time, no complaints were made against him, according to LAUSD.

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Principal at center of LAUSD's latest sex abuse scandal may lose credential

NBC Los Angeles

A file photo of a police car outside George De La Torre Jr. Elementary School in Wilmington.

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing will decide today whether to suspend a principal for allegedly failing to report abuse by one of her teachers.

Irene Hinojosa was a principal at George de la Torre Elementary School in Wilmington, where former fourth grade teacher, Robert Pimentel, is accused of sexually abusing 19 students.

Although Hinojosa has since retired from LAUSD, the Commission will vote in a closed session on a recommendation to suspend her Administrative Services Credential for 60 days, preventing her from working in any other school district. Hinojosa’s current certificate allows her to work in the state through October 1, 2014.

The Commission revoked Pimentel’s teaching credential on January 28.  He too, resigned from the district last March, when Superintendent John Deasy began dismissal proceedings.

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Among groups vying to takeover 'Parent Trigger' elementary school: LAUSD

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.

Two weeks ago, parents at 24th Street Elementary School felt like they were out of options. Today they have several.

Eight charter school operators submitted "Letters of Interest" vying to take over the failing school by the fall. Among them: L.A. Unified.

The offers started coming in almost immediately after neighborhood parents invoked the “Parent Trigger” law to take over the low-income school in South Los Angeles. Nearly two thirds of the school's parents signed the petition. 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.

Here’s a breakdown of the charter operators that met the Parent Union’s deadline for an application last Friday:

  • Academia Moderna
  • Crown Preparatory Academy
  • Frederick Douglass Academy Elementary School
  • Vista Academy Elementary School Global Education Academy
  • Celerity Global Development
  • Para Los Ninos
  • Los Angeles Unified School District
  • One was received from a former 24th Street Elementary School educator through an Education Management Organization

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LAUSD to add 1,000 aides for security at schools

Hamilton High

Tony Pierce / KPCC

Hamilton High School in Los Angeles near Beverly Hills.

The Los Angeles Unified School District will spend $4.2 million to hire 1,087 campus aides to increase security at elementary schools.

A minimum of two aides will be added to each of more than 400 LAUSD elementary school campuses beginning March 1, the Daily News reported.

The aides, who will work three-hour shifts, will be unarmed but equipped with two-way radios and vests "for high visibility," according to a memo from Senior Deputy Superintendent Michelle King that was obtained by the newspaper.

The memo says required safety training for the new aides will be conducted online and will cover child abuse awareness training, employee duties during an emergency, mediating student conflicts, responding to threats on campus, conducting metal detector searches, and what to do if there is a school lockdown.

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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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