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

Working to solve LA's truancy problems as a community

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A group tasked with finding an answer to L.A. county's student attendance problems will publicly release the findings of their more than year-long study this morning and ask the Education Coordinating Council to adopt its far-reaching recommendations.

The 63-page report emphasizes a more holistic approach to truancy that moves away from criminalization and instead focuses on identifying the root causes of problems students might have in getting to class, whether it be a transportation issue or a difficult home situation.

"Too often, law enforcement has been called upon to impose criminal punishments on children and families, even though research shows that such methods have little impact, and in fact, actually increase the likelihood of school push-out and drop-out," the report states.


Students rally to protest plans to eliminate adult education

LAUSD Rally in LA's Pershing Square

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Another rally against LAUSD cuts in LA's Pershing Square.

Adult education students are rallying today near downtown to protest plans by LAUSD officials to cut the entirety of the program because of budget troubles.

Students will be protesting at 12:30 p.m. in front of Evans Community Adult School, one of roughly 30 schools that may not be open for the next school year given the $543 budget shortfall the district faces.

Evelyn Marin, 39, of Los Angeles, has been studying ESL for the last three years at Evans and is helping organize the rally. Marin, originally from El Salvador, said she can't afford to pay for private school to finish her English studies. She wants to improve her skills so that she can attend high school and eventually train to become a psychologist.

"If [the district] is going to cut everything and close the schools, how am I going to finish?" Marin said.


Education in brief: CSU board meets, L.A. Unified restructuring, teachers tenure weakens

CSU Broken Glass

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

Protestors broke through a glass door at CSU headquarters in Long Beach on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011. A San Diego State student was one of several people arrested.

Lots going on in education today. Here's the rundown: 

The Cal State University Board of Trustees is meeting for in Long Beach and are set to debate and vote on changes to the system's executives' pay. You can listen to the discussion on their website. The meeting got off to an emotional start with public comment from angry students who asked the trustees to reconsider tuition increases, and said they would be held responsible for their actions.

Students at Monterey Continuation High School in East L.A. are performing their own plays — "2012 Meets 1970" — with professional actors tonight today and tomorrow. The students interviewed four former participants of the 1970 Chicano Moratorium including organizer Rosalio Munoz, visual artist Viviana Chamberlain, film and television director Jesus Trevino, and AFTRA director Consuelo Flores. More on this to come.


Helping teachers one latte at a time


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A teacher is able to supply guitars to his students thanks to gift card donations as part of a partnership between LAUSD and the Wasserman Foundation (using the online nonprofit

Looks like buying that latte will also bring good karma Monday.

Nearly 200 L.A. Starbucks coffee shops will give away 285,000 gift cards — worth $10 each — to the public Monday so that they can help pay for an LAUSD or charter school classroom project, officials said.

The money comes as part of a unique partnership between the district and the Wasserman Foundation that launched in November. Through the program teachers have, to date, received about $2 million to buy supplies ranging from paper to iPads. 

The foundation donated $4 million for teachers in the form of gift cards ($2 million broken up into $15 cards and sent out to schools) and matching funds (up to $1 million each year for two years). The gift cards qualify for matching funds as well, as long as there are no more than two projects for a total of $1,000 each per teacher. The district sent the cards out to schools in December, and each school decided how best to get them to the district's roughly 600,000 parents, district officials said.


Four East L.A. kids take a trip from Roosevelt High to Harvard — and put it on video

Mercer 505

Darren McCollester/Newsmakers

File photo of Harvard University''s main campus.

Here is a breath of fresh air amid the LAUSD roundup from this morning.

Take Part wrote up a post on an inspiring video project by four Boyle Heights kids who traveled from their East L.A. neighborhood to visit Harvard University.

Each student, equipped with their own cameras, shot hours of footage documenting their lives at home and in school as well as their dreams and hopes for the future.

The four students, who were awarded the trip because of academic excellence, visited another student who graduated from their school, Roosevelt High, and is now at Harvard.

The videos are well made and full of reflective and thought provoking statements on the education system.

Tami Abdollah can be reached via email and on Twitter (@LATams).