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

LAUSD offers to settle 40 suits from Miramonte elementary scandal for $17M

Miramonte Elementary School

Grant Slater/KPCC

Parents of students at Miramonte Elementary School escort children out of school on Feb. 6, 2012.

The L.A. Unified School District announced Wednesday it has submitted a proposed settlement of $17 million to 40 students who allege they were abused at Miramonte Elementary School.

The district’s top lawyer, David Holmquist, said the proposed settlement is reasonable.

“In our view, these properly take care of the students as we were committed to do when this whole thing happened, which is to provide for their health and welfare and their education for the remainder of their lives,” Holmquist said.

This settlement works out to about $425,000 per Miramonte student claiming sexual abuse.

District lawyers said that the proposed settlement was delivered to opposing lawyers during a Wednesday news conference. Lawyers for the 40 students in the proposed settlement have not commented.

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UPDATE: LAUSD board postpones discussion about budget plans to next board meeting

Monica Ratliff District 6

Rebecca Hill/KPCC

Monica Ratliff's fifth grade classroom at San Pedro Street Elementary.

Update 4 p.m.: L.A. Unified School District board members on Tuesday postponed until June 18 its discussion about two proposals for use of new state funding, but that didn't keep parents and representatives from teachers union from using the public comments portion of the meeting to let board members know their thoughts about using new funds.

"Let's put the needs of the kids and the classroom first. Please do the right thing, support the class size and full staffing initiative," United Teachers Los Angeles president Warren Fletcher told board members.

Some parents worried that Gov. Jerry Brown's supplemental funding formula would be detrimental to campuses with lower numbers of English learners and poor students.

Linda Patterson-Salib said she's worried her daughter won't be able to easily enroll in elective classes when she enters Venice High School in the fall.

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1 in 5 children suffer mental illness. Should parents worry, and what's being done?

OCD Children

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Cassidy George and her mother Lisa George play outside their home in Westchester, a neighborhood in Los Angeles, on June 3rd, 2013. At age 7, Cassidy was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

OCD Children

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Cassidy George is ten years old. From as early as she can remember she has had a lot of fears. “I didn't like the dark,” said George. “I didn’t like to go around and talk to people.”

OCD Children

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Cassidy George plays with her sister Avery at a community garden near their home in Westchester, a neighborhood in Los Angeles.

OCD Children

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Cassidy George shows off her sports trophies and awards in her bedroom.

OCD Children

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Cassidy George's soccer and basketball trophies and awards.

OCD Children

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Lisa George helps Cassidy George with her homework before dinner at their home in Westchester. Lisa began noticing her daughter's anxious behavior when Cassidy was a toddler.

OCD Children

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Avery George, Cassidy's younger sister, sits in the family's home in Westchester.

OCD Children

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Cassidy George plays on a swing outside her family's home in Manchester.

OCD Children

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Avery, Cassidy and Lisa George prepare dinner in their home on June 3rd, 2013.

OCD Children

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Cassidy George plays with bunnies at a community garden near her home. As a child, Cassidy meticulously collected leaves and rocks, in jars and buckets. But when it was time to empty the bucket, Cassidy would get distressed.

OCD Children

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Cassidy George swings outside her home in Westchester. Since being diagnosed with OCD at age 7 she's received treatment at Dr Jenny Yip’s Renewed Freedom Center.


Mental health issues in children are increasing. One in five kids now suffer from a mental disorder, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

These mental health disorders include commonly known illnesses like depression or ADHD. But there are also mental health issues that are rarely associated with elementary schoolers, like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Cassidy George is 10 years old. From as early as she can remember, she has had a lot of fears. “I didn't like the dark,” said George. “I didn’t like to go around and talk to people.”

Cassidy’s mother, Lisa, is a first grade teacher in Santa Monica.  She began noticing her daughter's anxious behavior when Cassidy was a toddler. Cassidy meticulously collected leaves and rocks in jars and buckets. But when it was time to empty the bucket, Lisa remembers Cassidy would get “very distressed.”

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State architect to increase scrutiny of public school construction projects

Two years after a state audit criticized the California state architect for lax oversight of new school construction, the agency this month introduced a new certification process for schools.

The changes affect public schools and community colleges.

One major difference:  the state Division of the Architect will now review construction throughout the process, rather than waiting until the end, said spokesman Eric Lamoureux. The agency will also ensure that new construction complies with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

The state architect will also follow through on problem projects.  The office has long sent letters to school board members reminding them that, as the responsible parties,  they can be sued when their school systems violate state construction laws. But the letters sometimes had no teeth, Lamoureux said; the agency didn't always follow up.

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Arts classes growing in some districts -- or at least shrinking more slowly than other courses

POSTER WORKSHOP - 6

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Patrick Hruby fills palates with paint before the poster-making workshop.

Arts education in some Los Angeles County school districts may actually be growing , according to a story from the online arts news site Classicalite.

The story's co-authors, Logan K. Young and Ricky O'Bannon, analyzed data from the California Education Demographics Office and found that in districts like Burbank, Beverly Hills and Inglewood  "arts-related" teachers in the 2010-2011 school year represented a larger portion of the total teaching pool than they in previous years.

They said that the 10 L.A. County school districts they tracked increased the number of  arts classes and arts teachers on staff between 1997 and 2007, when the recession hit. 

But they also outlined the challenges of gathering data that tracks the prevalence of arts education in the state. Among the problems:

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