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

Renowned dancer and Southland ballet instructor, Yvonne Mounsey, dies (Video)

In an interview with Dance Channel TV, Yvonne Mounsey said her eight decades in ballet began far from Los Angeles. “I started dancing in South Africa, where I was born, when I was a child. And it wasn’t long before I went to England and started studying there and doing all my Royal Academy exams,” she said.

Mounsey died Saturday of complications from cancer, her family said.

Along with her British training, Mounsey also learned from the top Russian choreographers of the mid 20th century. George Balanchine asked her to join his New York City Ballet. Mounsey’s daughter Allegra Clegg said her mother’s interpretations during this period involved much more than masterful technique.

“The reviews of her when she danced “The Prodigal Son” in New York City Ballet, yes it was done before, and people had danced it before her but she embodies that role, the sensuality of it, just the artistry,” Clegg said.

In 1967, Yvonne Mounsey founded Westside Ballet in Santa Monica to teach children and adults. During the Dance Channel interview she expressed pride in the dancers who went on to careers in ballet - and those who did not.

“We’ve had many go become famous surgeons and doctors and artists and writers, it’s just amazing. And I think in part it’s the discipline,” Mounsey said.

She maintained that discipline until three months ago. Clegg said her mother was teaching scores of children for her company’s production of “The Nutcracker” in December. “Her friend called her a 22-year-old with wrinkles,” Clegg said.

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Miramonte: Lawyers say Picasso print distressed students; propose reform plan (poll)

Girl Before a Mirror

MOMA

Picasso's 1932 painting, which is now hanging in New York's Museum of Modern Art. Lawyers point to a print of this painting that hung in a Miramonte classroom.

Lawyers for 24 children who claim sexual abuse at Miramonte Elementary School in South Los Angeles said a Picasso print hanging in a classroom was "distressing" to students and suggested an 11-point plan to protect children from future abuse. 

Attorney Luis Carrillo suggested that Los Angeles Unified School District and other districts throughout the state should enact the plan. He sent copies to L.A. Superintendent John Deasy, California State Superintendent Tom Torlakson and federal education secretary Arne Duncan.

The alleged victims’ lawyers also claim that at least one of their clients experienced "suffering" because a print of a Pablo Picasso painting was posted in Mark Berndt’s classroom. Berndt is the former teacher who's accused of abusing 23 students over at least five years.

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New CA law ensures public school students aren't charged illegal fees

school supplies

Erika Aguilar/KPCC

A bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown this weekend ensures that public school students are not being charged illegal fees to participate in educational activities.

A bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown this weekend will help ensure that public school districts don't charge students illegal fees to participate in educational activities.

The American Civil Liberties Union of California and the law firm Morrison & Foerster announced Monday that in response to the new law they will dismiss their class action lawsuit, Doe vs. State of California, filed two years ago. The suit alleged that the imposition of such fees violated the California Constitution, which has provided for "free school" since 1879.

AB 1575, authored by Democratic state Assemblyman Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens, requires the California Department of Education to provide guidance and updates on the "free schools guarantee" to superintendents and administrators every three years starting in 2014.

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What's your favorite school-related film?

Mercer 6989

AP Photo

Legendary LA teacher Jaime Escalante commands a math clasroom at Garfield High School in 1988. Escalante is the basis for the teacher Edward James Olmos portrayed in the movie "Stand and Deliver." What education-themed movie evokes memories for you?

Each of us remembers school related films that debuted during our impressionable teenage years. It’s one thing to see these films as teenagers and quite another to see them as taxpaying adults who read daily headlines about the declining state of public education. My best cinematic memories include the chaotic choreography in the opening scene of "Grease," the winsome Phoebe Cates in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," or the glimpse at the grim underside of of suburban high school in "The Breakfast Club."

Some of my online friends have equally strong opinions about education/school related films. Here's their list. It reminded me how much my perspective on schools has changed. It's also research for an upcoming story. You've probably heard about the latest dramatic film set in public schools.

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US grant funds $20,000 teacher bonuses at 'high-need' LA schools

Deasy walks campus

Tami Abdollah/KPCC

LAUSD plans to give $20,000 bonuses to up to 80 "effective" science, technology, math, engineering and special ed teachers who agree to teach at 40 high-need schools under a new federal grant.

Los Angeles Unified Schools Superintendent John Deasy said that a $49 million federal grant awarded to the district this week to improve teacher effectiveness will help pay for a new multiple-measure teacher evaluation system and more professional development programs, including a bonus for certain teachers at high-need schools.

The five-year grant includes an initial $16 million; more money would follow based on availability and the district's progress. The grant award details say the school district can use Teacher Incentive Fund grants to support performance-based pay for effective principals and teachers in 40 "high-need schools." 

The district plans to use effective educators as coaches and models for their peers' professional development. Teachers who are experts in their subjects will provide coaching based on information from the evaluation.

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