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

Nearly half of Crenshaw High's teachers won't return this fall

Teachers, parents, supporters and studen


Teachers, parents, supporters and students picketed outside Crenshaw High School to protest teacher layoffs in May, 2009.

Students at Crenshaw High School will have a lot of new teachers when they return to school in the fall. That’s because roughly half of the school’s teachers were not rehired as part of a campus reorganization ordered by Superintendent John Deasy.

The reorganization closed the chronically low-performing school and transformed into three magnets: Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA); Business Entrepreneurship Technology (BET); and Science, Technology, Engineering, Math & Medicine (STEMM) academies.

A magnet program for gifted students that was already at the school was also closed. Its students will be folded into the new magnets. 

“These three were selected by the community as a way of enticing those students that live in the Crenshaw attendance area to come to Crenshaw and not get on a bus and go off to another non-Crenshaw school,” said George Bartleson, director of Intensive Support and Intervention at LAUSD.


LA Unified school board member wants changes to California's Parent Trigger law

Cheech Marin at LAUSD on arts ed

Tami Abdollah/KPCC

A Los Angeles Unified school board meeting in Oct. 2012.

California’s Parent Trigger law has been used five times to try and overhaul low-performing schools. Three of those were in the L.A. Unified School District. School board member Steve Zimmer has proposed a resolution up for a vote at Tuesday’s meeting calling for new restrictions. (Check back later today for updates on the  board's actions.)

Under the Parent Trigger law, when a majority of parents sign a petition, those parents get to decide how to restructure a school where test scores fall far below the state average.

Reforms can include removing the principal, asking a charter school company to run it, or other changes.

Board member Steve Zimmer believes the process is flawed.

“I’m concerned that everyone has access to accurate information. I’m concerned that everybody gets to participate in the process," Zimmer said. "I’m concerned that we’re focusing on the schools that objectively need this type of transformation the most.”


LAUSD and other districts seek group waiver from No Child Left Behind

lausd school bus

Photo by superterrific/dana byerly via Flickr Creative Commons

Los Angeles Unified is part of a coalition seeking an waiver from No Child Left Behind

Los Angeles Unified School District and eight other school districts in California are seeking an exemption from tough provisions in the No Child Left Behind law requiring 100 percent of their students to be proficient in math and English by 2014 or face sanctions, including school closure.

The coalition of districts, dubbed the California Office to Reform Education, submitted an application to the U.S. Department of Education in February and an updated version in May. The group — consisting of Clovis, Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco, Sanger and Santa Ana Unified School Districts —is now working to answer remaining questions from the government regarding its proposal. The application by CORE represents the first time that school districts have joined to submit a unified proposal. 


Report: Arts education has many benefits, but links to improved academics are limited

Renaissance Arts Academy - 7

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Tenth grader Emmet Webster and twelfth grader Aidan Faith play double bass at Renaissance Arts Academy in Eagle Rock. Music education has been linked to improving student IQ scores.

A comprehensive new report out Monday outlines the benefits and limits of arts education by digging into the data and outlining what research has been established in the field.

Among the findings: Learning music can boost students' IQ scores and visual arts likely help students' understanding of geometrical reasoning. But the report also notes that there's no evidence theater and dance help with overall academic skills.

The report, called "Art for Art's Sake: The Impact of Arts Education," is from the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation based in Paris at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The authors reviewed research databases in a variety of languages including Dutch, English, German, Italian, French and Korean.

Here are a few of the findings from the executive summary:


Facing its first budget increase in years, LA Unified board members set to debate how to spend it

Mercer 216

David McNew/Getty Images

A meeting of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education. The board is scheduled to vote on a new budget on Tuesday

Los Angeles Unified School District’s board of education is set to vote Tuesday on next fiscal year’s budget. For the first time in years, members will not be faced with figuring out where to make drastic cuts.

The budget proposed by Superintendent John Deasy for the 2013-14 school year has $266 million more than last year’s budget - due in part to an improving economy and last year’s voter-approved state tax increase for schools.

The state is requiring the district to spend some of that extra money to help students in poverty, in foster care, or whose first language isn't English.

But the district can decide how to spend other funds  -- and that may create some tension among board members at Tuesday’s board meeting. Board member Monica Garcia wants to continue the district’s focus on low performing schools.