Two children focused on an iPad
With the proliferation of smart phones and tablet devices, the technology is fast trickling down to the youngest members of the family. It seems like a new, so-called ‘educational’ app comes on the market every day.
But no agency is making sure that an application labeled as "educational" really is -- or that it's appropriate for the age group it targets. That leaves many parents of preschoolers are in a quandary: to iPad or not to iPad? And what age is appropriate for a child to start swiping and tapping?
Marlene Acheson, director of the Pacific Beach Presbyterian preschool in San Diego, is in the "not to iPad" camp. She doesn't have computers, lap-tops or tablets in her classrooms because she believes they stop children from communicating with each other, and in some cases, their own language development slows. You don't need to talk when staring at a screen, she points out.
Los Angeles County leads the state in the number of schools that offer bilingual education starting in kindergarten.
California State University Fullerton education researchers are looking at how K-12 schools can better teach bilingual children. About a quarter of public school students statewide live in bilingual households, according to California Department of Education statistics.
"One of the biggest barriers is access to translated school material," CSU Fullerton Professor Sharon Chappell said. “Curriculum can be very monocultural.”
She said the university organizes “Bilingual Family Night” on campus Tuesday night to allow parents and educators to share their efforts to create a welcoming environment at schools for students who speak a second language.
At tonight's event, Chappell will talk about her research into how schools create an inclusive environment for bilingual students, a Mexican folkloric dance troupe will perform, and Chappell will screen a film based on her research, "Con Mucho Orgullo: Oral Histories of Bilingual Families in California Schools."
With a string of performances and master classes in everything from ballet to African dance, the annual Pasadena Dance Festival attracts aspiring dancers and teachers from all over the West Coast.
This year it debuted something new: a class in krump dancing. The Compton street dance, with its signature chest pops and stomps, can appear almost violent to a first-time audience.
"We try to spice it up every year with something that makes people kind of raise one eyebrow," said Peggy Burt, a board member of the dance company that puts on the festival, Lineage Dance.
Lineage didn't include the dance solely to expose young dancers to new forms of the art – it was also hoping to attract younger audiences.
"All throughout the country we find that the dance audiences are getting older," Burt said.
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A bill sponsored by L.A. Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer would limit the role of police officers on public school campuses.
A bill to limit the role of campus police in disciplining students passed its first committee hearing in Sacramento Wednesday.
The bill’s L.A. sponsor aims to reduce the number of tickets that campus police issue to students.
As school districts consider adding additional campus security following the Sandy Hook shootings, Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer (D-LA) wants administrators to handle minor discipline issues — and for campus police to only get involved when a student’s behavior is a physical threat.
“Cops should not be giving out truancy tickets,” Jones-Sawyer said. “The only time they should come on campus are those unfortunate times, like Sandy Hook, when they have to, or when a student brings a weapon on campus.”
Los Angeles Unified School District employs more than 350 police on school campuses. The district recently reported that its officers issued 33,000 tickets over a three-year period — for infractions such as vandalism, tardiness, and disturbing the peace.
Ten California teachers — several of them from Orange County — are suing in federal court to stop mandatory union dues. The lawsuit seeks to expand last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision involving union activity in a California special election.
California law allows public employees to decide whether to have union representation for collective bargaining, which requires members to pay dues. The dues are used to finance union activities, which sometimes includes political lobbying.
The lawsuit, filed by ten California teachers against their state and local unions and national advocacy groups, seeks to change that. Michael Carvin, lead attorney for the teachers, said: "We’re not attacking unions. We are attacking the union’s ability to coerce people ... to give money."
Union members are allowed to ask unions for a refund on the portion of dues spent on political activities. The teachers essentially want to opt-in to such dues, not have to opt-out after the fact.