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U.S Secretary of Education Arne Duncan speaks to the press at the White House in Washington, D.C,, April 20, 2012. The U.S. Department of Education released the application requirements of the 2012 Race to the Top competition, which will allow districts to apply directly to the federal government for funds rather than via their states.
The U.S. Department of Education released details of the 2012 Race to the Top competition today for nearly $400 million in federal dollars that will, for the first time, go directly to school districts rather than their states.
The competition was launched in 2009 and has been lauded by federal education officials as inspiring nationwide education reform and working to improve "student achievement and educator effectiveness."
"We want to help schools become engines of innovation through personalized learning so that every child in America can receive the world-class public education they deserve," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement.
Districts or groups of districts that serve at least 2,000 students with 40 percent or more students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches will be able to apply for the competition.
Tony Pierce / KPCC
Hamilton High School in Los Angeles.
While most LA Unified students have been on summer break, school police chief Steven Zipperman - head of the largest school police force in the country - and a handful of district administrators have been meeting with local civil rights groups that want to overhaul school ticketing policies. Police may ticket students for jaywalking, skipping school, vandalism, or carrying cigarettes - but the most common violation is fighting.
Less than a week from the first day of school, LAUSD announced its new plan:
In our meetings, we have agreed on steps to mitigate the issues and concerns that have been presented. At the meetings, we have discussed and will be instituting in the new school year a progressive new policy that will refer students, who are truants to a non-court, district-sponsored, diversion program. We have also shared with the group that there has been a 54% decrease in truancy citations since last year alone.
The District and the LASPD continue to analyze the most appropriate means to address violations of laws, and will continue to address many issues administratively within the school environment. We have shared this information with all groups involved.
Tami Abdollah / KPCC
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside L.A. Unified headquarters downtown as the board met inside to discuss the district's dire budget picture. (March 2012) LAUSD hopes the new Race to the Top competition will bring it urgently needed funds.
The new Race to the Top application, which for the first time this year allows districts to apply directly to the federal government for the competitive awards, will also allow larger school districts to qualify for more money, said LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy.
Deasy said he had only just received the application information today and was reviewing it.
"I'm reading it literally as we speak," Deasy said. "I'm extremely pleased with what appears to be a major change in the Race to the Top application...a differentiation in awards based on the size of the district."
Justin Hamilton, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Education, said the department plans to announce the application details Sunday. But all that remains clear from previous comments by federal education officials is that the majority of the $550 million pot will go to districts — far less than the $4 billion pot previously provided for Race to the Top competitions.
The California 2nd District Court of Appeal has invalidated LAUSD's 'last hired, first fired' exemption at 45 schools.
A major class-action settlement that gives LAUSD teachers layoff protection at several dozen schools in high-poverty areas has been invalidated by the California 2nd District Court of Appeal.
The 2 to 1 decision, with Associate Justice Kathryn Doi Todd dissenting and Associate Justice Judith Ashmann-Gerst and Associate Justice Victoria M. Chavez concurring, focuses on the technical aspects of Reed vs. United Teachers Los Angeles. The justices agreed that the teachers' union has a right to a trial where the merits of its case can be examined more fully.
Reed vs. California was filed in February 2010 and essentially argued that low-performing schools in high-poverty areas -- already difficult to staff -- were so unfairly impacted by teacher layoffs that it compromised the constitutional rights of students to be educated.
UCLA students protest tuition increases at a Board of Regents meeting. The system has been hit with multi-millions in state funding cuts that officials fear make it less competitive in retaining first-class faculty.
If you teach at the University of California, you're probably paid less than your peers in similar positions at competing schools, according to the system's annual report on employee compensation released today.
The systemwide report on 2011 compensation found that pay for many UC employees is "significantly below market" and that salary increases for non-union employees have been minimal or nonexistent since 2008.
A 2009 study found that many UC employees received less money than those working in similar positions elsewhere. At the time faculty received about 10 percent less than their peers at competing institutions. Officials believe this problem has likely grown worse, but have not been able to afford a repeat study, said UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein.
"The feeling is the lag is even greater because while everybody is getting raises, we aren’t," Klein said.