Union leaders, parents and teachers packed the L.A. Unified Board of Education meeting Tuesday, when the board took on whether to continue the Breakfast in the Classroom program.
The “power struggle” fireworks promised for Tuesday’s L.A. Unified Board of Education over the Breakfast in the Classroom program never materialized.
Instead, speakers and the board had nothing but praise for the one-year old program.
“I’m here as a mother. I have five boys, single mom,” said Estela Tejada, who got choked up as she talked about how the program had helped her family. “I work the night shift every day and it’s hard for me to get up in the morning to even think about getting breakfast for my kids.”
Ultimately, the board unanimously approved a motion to continue the program – and expand it.
The decision was a big win for Superintendent John Deasy in his ongoing battle with the teacher’s union. He brought the issue to a vote after a union survey last month gave the program a failing grade. Teachers said the food attracts bugs and rodents and it’s taking too long to serve the kids and clean up after inevitable messes – up to 30 minutes of precious instructional time.
UPDATE: The Los Angeles Unified Board of Education this afternoon unanimously approved the continuation -- and expansion -- of its Breakfast in the Classroom program.
The program moved the free and reduced price breakfast program from the cafeteria to the classroom more than a year ago in an effort to increase the number of low-income students who pick up and eat a school breakfast. According to the school district, fewer than a third of students were stopping by the cafeteria before school to eat breakfast even though the vast majority qualify for the subsidized meals.
Until now, the decisions about the program were made by L.A. Unified Superintendent John Deasy.
Many were left scratching their heads last month when Deasy put up for a board vote whether to keep the program. It serves about 200,000 students and was slated to be rolled out district-wide next year.
Andrew Nixon/Capital Public Radio
California Gov. Jerry Brown delivers his State of the State speech.
Governor Jerry Brown's revised budget plan being released Tuesday morning will allocate $1 billion for K-12 schools to fund districts’ adoption of new common core standards — about $170 per student.
The Governor will also propose an extra $240 million for base district funding as part of his funding overhaul.
Administration officials revealed the details to the Associated Press on the eve of the budget unveiling. They also explained how the money will get divided among school districts:
- 80 percent will be carved up among districts, based on the total number of students.
- 16 percent will be divided based on the districts’ number of students learning English, of low-income, or who are foster children.
- 4 percent would go to districts where the majority of students are English-learners, low-income or foster children.
For decades, teacher Rafe Esquith has staged Shakespeare plays with students from Hobart Boulevard Elementary School in Koreatown. Most of the kids come from low-income families and English isn’t their first language -- and yet every Spring, they put on a show.
The novel program propelled Esquith into teacher stardom. His fourth book is due out this summer, he's been featured in a PBS documentary and his fan-base includes Oprah Winfrey and Sir Ian McKellen.
But the program's success and Esquith's notoriety haven't spared Hobart elementary from statewide cuts to school arts programs.
As Esquith celebrates his 30th anniversary, he says a lot has changed since he first started the Shakespeare program back in the 1980s.
"The fact is we keep cutting the wrong things in schools," said Esquith, who is celebrating 30 years as a teacher at Hobart. "Cutting arts programs is killing us."
The Art Center College of Design, known world-wide for graduating hotshot illustrators and car designers, has inserted itself into one of the most pressing issues facing this country: gun violence.
The Pasadena institution published a series of four children’s books that illustrate what a gun-free world could look like.
One of the books, titled “Amos’ New Life,” by Vivian Shih, begins like this:
“Amos the Bullet was born in a cold place called the gun. One day, somebody shot the gun. Bang! Swoosh."
At first Amos breaks things, but when he meets ”useful” objects like pencils and lipsticks, he decides he wants to be more like them.
The series is part of “Uncool: The Anti-Gun Violence Project.”
To get the word out about the books, the Art Center's Helen Cahng led readings and workshops at libraries, donating books to the shelves and giving free copies to the workshop attendees.