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

California official says law setting federal education standards is 'null and defunct'

One of California’s top education officials said the federal No Child Left Behind law is no longer credible or legitimate because too many states have been given a waiver.

“They have already disowned the program in terms of the U.S. Department of Education by the secretary already declaring it null and defunct in effect in 33 states," said Michael Kirst, President of California’s State Board of Education. "I don’t see that it has any credibility or legitimacy left.”

His board sets policy for the most public school chidren of any state in the nation.

President George W. Bush signed the law in 2001, setting 2014 as the year that every student, including those whose first language isn’t English, will be proficient in English and math.
“It’s turned out to be illusory and not attainable by any state,” Krist said. 

The Obama administration has been exempting states from the 100 percent proficiency goal and other key provisions — but only if they meet a list of reforms.


LAUSD school CHOICES window opens today; deadline is Nov. 16

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MGShelton/Flickr (by cc_nc_nd)

The window for applying to a school outside your area starts today, Monday, Oct. 8, and runs through Nov. 16. That's an earlier closing date than in previous years.

It used to be that if you went to public school, you only had one choice — go to the school nearest your home. Now, students and their parents in the Los Angeles Unified School District have a variety of options. But don’t take too long to think about them. 

Parents may submit applications online, through the mail or in person.

This degree of choice applies to more than the district’s 172 magnet schools. Under the federal No Child Left Behind law, parents whose children attend a school that's not meeting academic targets may transfer them to one that is.

If your child's local school has a homogenous student population of any ethnicity, and you seek a more culturally integrated experience, you may apply for the Permit with Transfer program.

L.A. Unified wait-lists hundreds of families each year, sometimes for several years, depending on the program they want. So district officials urge all parents not to procrastinate.


South LA Schools team up to fight reconsitution

The conflict between activists and LA Unified Superintendent John Deasy over the district’s reconstitution of Dorsey High School is coming to a head. Just as the final deadline to prevent a school takeover looms for Dorsey (it has until Oct. 31 to submit a school reform plan), Crenshaw High School faces a similar process.

That’s why the two South LA schools joined forces and organized a public meeting tonight to inform Crenshaw parents and students about the disctrict's effort to reform underachieving schools. 

LA Unified can reconstitute a school when it fails to meet state-mandated educational benchmarks under the federal No Child Left Behind act. That means the district can lay off the entire staff at a school and make everyone re-apply for their jobs. Those who are re-hired must sign contracts that includes provisions based on student performance on standardized tests.


Gov. Jerry Brown meets with White House officials for waivers on education, health care

Kitty Felde/KPCC

Gov. Jerry Brown stands away from other Democratic governors at the White House.

Gov. Jerry Brown and his fellow Democratic governors from around the country met this morning with President Barack Obama. The governor says he wants less government regulation from the feds.

Brown wants more flexibility on two of the biggest money issues for California: health care for the poor and education. He says, "We need some waivers from the federal government to make my job more efficient and effective in California."

Brown met with Education Secretary Arne Duncan to talk about relief from some of the requirements of the 2002 No Child Left Behind law. The federal government has granted a waiver to 10 states, but California didn’t apply, concerned it couldn’t afford the more than $2 billion required to make enough reforms to earn the waiver.

Under No Child, failing schools could face mass transfers of students, conversion to charters or a state takeover. Brown says he’s “optimistic” he can work out a compromise with Washington on both No Child Left Behind and Medi-Cal requirements.