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

Small study says gender stereotypes may still play role in who chooses to teach

Brock Cohen Humanitas

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Brock Cohen, a Humanitas program teacher at Grant High School, teaches 11th grade American Literature and 9th grade Humanities. He has been teaching for 11 years.

For a long time, women have dominated k-12 teaching jobs. This article in the British newspaper The Telegraph sheds a bit of light on perceptions of some male teachers that may be behind those numbers.

In a small study, university scholars found that gender stereotypes play a role when men discount going into teaching. Ingrained British class issues may be at play, too, the article suggests.  In the U.K., men represent just 12 percent of the primary school workforce, according to Telegraph.

Certainly that’s not the case in California, right?

To find out, I took a look at the gender break down for California’s teaching force for the 2011-12 school year, the most recent available.  Statistics show 40% of California’s 284,000 teachers last year were male. That’s definitely higher than what I remember seeing in San Diego public schools in the 1970s and 80s.


Transitional kindergarten is on today's agenda

Transitional Kindergarten School Playground

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Vanessa Delgado and Ashley Vargas play during recess at Martha Escutia Primary Center, which offers transitional kindergarten.

Last week we blogged about transitional kindergarten being the bridge program for 4-year-olds not yet old enough for kindergarten. Today I'm at the annual TK conference where more than 400 administrators, principals and teachers are sharing strategies for creating more successful TK programs.

One of the main messages from the conference so far is that TK is about equalizing the playing field when kids enter kindergarten. Principal Friedrich from Stanley Mosk Elementary points out how kindergarten has become very academic in the past decade — as schools move to meet new achievement standards — and this is really leaving some kids behind. TK builds social-emotional skills, fine motor skills, as well as basic literacy and numeracy.

TK should be a more play-and-discovery-based learning environment where children can learn the basics they need to enter kindergarten, experts say.


LA schools misspent $158M of lunch money on sprinklers, salaries, TV staff, state says (PDF)

A cafeteria worker supervises lunches fo


Kids wait in line for lunch at Normandie Avenue Elementary School in South Central Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Unified School District has been ordered to pay back more than $158 million that was supposed to go for free and reduced lunches but that state officials say was spent on lawn sprinklers, staff salaries at the district's television station and other improper uses over a six-year period.

A report by the Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes released Wednesday morning said LAUSD was among eight districts ordered to repay funds recently. It was by far the biggest violator, according to audits by the California Department of Education. The other seven districts combined were ordered to repay about $11 million. Two are contesting the findings.

“From my point of view, they are literally taking food out of the mouth of kids,” Richard Zeiger, chief deputy state superintendent of public instruction, was quoted in the report as saying. “They say, ‘Well, we can do it cheaper.’ I say you should do it better.”


ACLU settles bias lawsuit filed by Latino students in Los Angeles County

LAUS Police Car at Mark Twain Middle School

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Civil rights lawyers say they have settled a racial profiling lawsuit filed by Latino students who allegedly were rounded up at a suburban Los Angeles high school and treated as potential gang members.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California said Wednesday that the Glendale Unified School District and Glendale Police Department agreed to policy changes after a 2010 incident at Hoover High. The suit claimed police directed 50 Latino students into two classrooms, made them pose for fake mugshots and subjected them to bullying.

RELATED: Latino high school students claim racial profiling

The agreement says the Police Department agreed to train officers on dealing with students at schools and revised policies on racial profiling. The school district will notify parents if students are interrogated on campus.


California wants to ramp up its technical education and career training programs in schools

Mercer 6881

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Students learn car mechanics at a school in England. California officials want to increase technical training for students to train them in careers that don't require college.

California education officials want to expand and promote career and technical education classes offered by public schools.

While we've all heard the rhetoric by some administrators and educators for all high school graduates to be college ready, many students want and will end up in technical careers for which they won't need to go to college. On the contrary, many jobs require vocational training.

State Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson is calling the effort the “Career Readiness Initiative.” To bring attention to the issue, he declared February Career Technical Education Month.

His public campaign includes seven presentations through April to help school districts tailor their technical education classes to industries hungry for workers with that level of training. Speakers will talk about how to best help students land and keep a job, how pilot programs are combining academic and technical education, and how community colleges are on the forefront of learning in-demand technical skills.