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

Public comment meetings set for California's new K-12 science standards

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New K-12 science standards developed by 26 states are expected to go before the State Board of Education in November for possible adoption.

California is one step closer to adopting sweeping new K-12 science standards that were released by 26 states earlier this month.

The state Department of Education announced today that three public meetings will be held throughout the state in the coming weeks to collect feedback ahead of the Board of Education's review of the standards this fall.

The standards—developed after nearly two years of study and discussion—represent a shift from current science teaching methods, which experts say represent a "mile wide, inch deep" approach.

Instead, the new standards dive deeply into fewer topic areas and emphasize hands-on learning that requires critical thinking instead of memorization.

"Right now, what we know is that based upon the research and the evidence that we have, our students aren’t doing as well as we’d like them to," the Department of Education's Director of Professional Learning Support Phil Lafontaine told KPCC when the standards were released.


32 children's books recommended by you

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Alezander Duran reads "Flyboy of Underwhere" by Bruce Hale.

You've been discussing childhood literacy with KPCC's Deepa Fernandes this week. And we've been asking: What are your favorite children's books? 

Luckily, you answered. Here's a compilation of awesome #kidreads based on your responses.

Did we forget something? Weigh in on Facebook or tweet us at @KPCC using the hashtag #kidreads. 

And tune in to Take Two's Facebook page Tuesday at 11 a.m. for a live chat with Fernandes. We'll be talking about what elements make a great children's book. Do you and your kids every disagree on what to read before bed? And what about diversity of languages and characters in children’s books? All this and more Tuesday. 

RELATED: #KidReads: Which children's book do you or your child hold most dear?



Baldwin Park School District wins #1 spot in closing the Achievement Gap.

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Sixth grader, Reyna Ugalde, at Foster Elementary in the Baldwin Park School District, highlights in pink the edges of her handmade polyhedron.

Recently we reported on two schools in the Baldwin Park school district that have unique programs: a high school that helps teenage parents stay in school, and an elementary school where teaching a dual language immersion program is yielding top results. Now the school district has earned the number one ranking in the state for closing the achievement gap.

The Baldwin Park school district (BPUSD) is nestled in the San Gabriel Valley. 86% it’s students are Latino and 85% are low-income.  It's a population that traditionally underperforms in comparison to school districts in middle and upper income neighborhoods. BPUSD is breaking that mould.

Using district wide report cards and test scores, Oakland-based education organization, Ed-Trust West, evaluated 148 California school districts grades with high populations of Latino, African American and low-income students. This year BPUSD ranked number one for overall test scores.


#Kidreads: Children's books with minority characters are hard to find; here are a few resources

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Children's librarian, Sada Mozer, reads to children at schools, preschools and in her own children's section at Junipero Serra library in South Los Angeles.

Veteran educator Louise Derman Sparks has written volumes on what she calls “anti-bias education” for children. 

Sparks firmly believes that children can start absorbing an anti-bias message just from what we read to them because children’s books are one of the first ways we introduce infants to the world.

“The simplest [way] is to create a very diverse environment with accurate books and pictures of people of this country in their current lives,” Sparks said.

Certainly there's a lot to overcome.

“One of the first stereotypes [children] learn is about Native Americans,” Sparks said. “Native Americans wear feathers or they wear buckskins or they go around shooting bows and arrows or they live in teepees.”

RELATED: #KidReads: Which children's book do you or your child hold most dear?


Iconic LA teacher Sal Castro, who led East LA walkouts in the 1960s, dies

Sal Castro, the Lincoln High School social studies teacher who inspired students to stage mass walkouts from classes to demand better school in 1968, died in his Silver Lake home on Monday. He was 79.

Castro was an educator for decades -- and for years he ran an empowerment group for latino youth. A middle school is named after him. But few events were as important to him as the walkouts, said UC Santa Barbara historian Mario T. Garcia.

"He always believed that that was one of the highlights of his life. That he could help the students think for themselves, that something had to be done, and that they could make history," said Garcia, who interviewed Castro for the book "Blowout!: Sal Castro and the Chicano Struggle for Educational Justice."

His wife, Charlotte Lerchenmuller, said Castro died in his sleep. He'd been diagnosed with cancer last year, she said.