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

Education in brief: unhappy teachers, changes at Cal, and more

California Education Protest

Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Derrick, a member of Occupy San Francisco, sits in front of California Highway Patrol officers dressed in riot gear during a demonstration against cuts to higher education held at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, March 5, 2012. Thousands of students, teachers and supporters marched to the Capitol as part of a daylong protest over state budget cuts to higher education.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

In case you missed it, here's a rundown of some interesting recent education stories:

Unhappy times for teachers

Given all that's happened with school budgets recently and debates over how teachers should be evaluated, it's probably no surprise that teacher morale has sunk to its lowest point in 20 years, at least according to a recent survey of teachers, parents and students. The New York Times has more details from the annual release of the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher.

Changes at the top, at UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau announced Tuesday he will step down after eight years at the head of premier public university. The announcement happened to come on the same day the latest World University Rankings listed UC Berkeley among the top 10 best schools on the planet, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.


UC president responds to 'recent incidents of intolerance' on campus

In an open letter to the University of California community, the 10-campus system's president Mark G. Yudof responded to "recent incidents of intolerance" including the vandalizing of an Israeli flag at the UC Riverside Hillel, a Jewish student organization, and the heckling of an event involving Israeli soldiers at UC Davis.

Here are a few snippets from that letter:

"...It was wrong for hecklers to disrupt speakers on the UC Davis campus at an event entitled "Israeli Soldiers Speak Out." It was reprehensible that one of these hecklers accused the speakers of being associated with rapists and murders. Under the direction of Chancellor [Linda] Katehi, campus officials dealt appropriately with this individual, moving him out of the room and barring re-entry. But I want to make this clear: I condemn the actions of those who would disrupt this event. Attempting to shout down speakers is not protected speech. It is an action meant to deny others their right to free speech.

It was wrong for a vandal or vandals on the UC Riverside campus to deface the Israeli flag displayed by the Jewish student organization Hillel, scrawling the word “terrorists” across it. I applaud Chancellor [Timothy] White for his rapid and vigorous condemnation of this cowardly act. And I join him whole heartedly in that condemnation. The chancellor was right to assign campus police to investigate.

Two years ago, at UC San Diego, it was African Americans who were vilified by words and images that mocked their heritage and who felt threatened by the hanging of a noose. Around the same time, derogatory and profane words were spray-painted across the entrance to the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center at UC Davis. Likewise, swastikas scrawled on campus walls or doors have made Jewish students feel unsafe..."


UC general counsel 'disappointed' by court order barring release of pepper-spray incident report

The University of California General Counsel Charles Robinson released a statement today after an Alameda County Superior Court judge ordered the system to temporarily withhold the public release of a task force report into the pepper spraying of of peaceful protesters at UC Davis by campus police.

"We are obviously disappointed that public disclosure of the findings and recommendations of the task force chaired by former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso has been delayed. The work of the task force represents a crucial step forward for the UC Davis campus as it attempts to move beyond the events of Friday, November 18."

"The task force has worked diligently to provide the UC Davis community and the public at large with a full, expeditious accounting of the incidents in question."

"In granting the temporary restraining order requested by a UC campus police union attorney, Judge Evelio M. Grillo emphasized that he was not ruling on merits, but only preserving the status quo until the hearing on March 16."

"We look forward to the next round, and we will fight vigorously in court to ensure that the task force report sees public light as soon as possible."


Judge grants hold on public release of report into pepper-spraying incident at UC Davis

Thousands rally at UC Davis Monday


Thousands rally at UC Davis Monday after Occupy protesters were pepper sprayed on campus last week. @joeja tweets: "I've never seen so many people on the #ucdavis quad." He tweets this photo.

A judge has granted a temporary hold on the public release of a task force report into the pepper spraying of peaceful protesters by UC Davis campus police in November.

The report, ordered by UC President Mark Yudof at the request of UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi, was to be released at noon today online and discussed in a public meeting this afternoon. The report provides details from an investigation into the November incident by a task force headed by former California Supreme Court Associate Justice Cruz Reynoso.

An attorney representing the campus police union and specific officers involved in the incident filed paperwork for a temporary restraining order in Alameda County Superior Court. Judge Evelio M. Grillo's order puts a hold on the release of the report for 21 days until a preliminary injunction hearing. If a preliminary injunction is granted, then the report would be held through a trial on the issue.


Attorney: Investigation into UC Davis police pepper-spraying incident is 'confidential'

AP Photo/The Enterprise, Wayne Tilcock

In this Friday, Nov. 18, 2011, photo University of California, Davis Police Lt. John Pike uses pepper spray to move Occupy UC Davis protesters while blocking their exit from the school's quad Friday in Davis, Calif. Two University of California, Davis police officers involved in pepper spraying seated protesters were placed on administrative leave Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011, as the chancellor of the school accelerates the investigation into the incident.

Here are more details on the postponing of a task force report that was to be publicly released Tuesday on the pepper spraying by campus police of peaceful protesters at UC Davis in November.

The report was to provide recommendations and details from the investigation. But now that has been postponed while the university and union representatives meet in court Tuesday.

Attorney Mike McGill, who represents the campus police officer's union and the officers involved in the case, said he is planning to file a temporary restraining order in court Tuesday morning to prevent the public release of the report.

"This investigation that they've done, as a matter of law, is confidential," McGill said. "Any investigation that's on peace officers based on complaints and the investigation of complaints is protected under the penal code as confidential, and can't be released to the public."