Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Students throw their mortarboards in the air during their college graduation.
Northern California Assemblyman Dan Logue wants to make it quicker and cheaper for students to earn college degrees in lucrative, job-rich industries.
His Assembly Bill 51, introduced Dec. 21, would cap the price of science, technology, engineering, or math degrees at three pilot California State University campuses at $10,000 dollars. That’s less than half of what they cost now.
“The biggest issue we have is that a lot of these kids are graduating in a four-year college with a degree where they aren’t really being hired because there’s not a demand for it,” Logue said. The pilot campuses are CSU Long Beach, CSU Chico, and CSU Stanislaus. The bill would allow students to take college-level classes in high school, then attend community college before transferring to the Cal State campus.
Max Whittaker/Getty Images
California Governor Jerry Brown wants to bolster funding for public schools that serve the poor.
Governor Jerry Brown’s New Year’s resolution: a major school funding overhaul.
Observers said Brown will unveil details next week of a plan to increase state funding for public schools with high proportions of low-income students.
It’ll be a version of a student weighted funding formula he unveiled last year -- then withdrew several months later after opposition from a coalition that included the California Teachers Association and the California School Boards Association. They were concerned that the funding overhaul might harm their push to pass Propostion 30.
State Board of Education President Mike Kirst, who supported last year’s plan, predicts it'll get broad support this time. For one, the Governor adopted changes that surfaced at stakeholder meetings several months ago, he said. And the state analysts predict increased funding for all schools in the next few years.
“That makes it more favorable that you can phase it in on an increased rising tide of expenditures,” Kirst said.
Brown plans to do away with rules governing so-called categoricals -- funding streams for programs like busing and class size reduction. Removing the rules, Brown told the L. A. Times, would give school districts more control over how to use the money. His goal, he said, is to “balance” opportunities.
One of California’s top education officials said the federal No Child Left Behind law is no longer credible or legitimate because too many states have been given a waiver.
“They have already disowned the program in terms of the U.S. Department of Education by the secretary already declaring it null and defunct in effect in 33 states," said Michael Kirst, President of California’s State Board of Education. "I don’t see that it has any credibility or legitimacy left.”
His board sets policy for the most public school chidren of any state in the nation.
President George W. Bush signed the law in 2001, setting 2014 as the year that every student, including those whose first language isn’t English, will be proficient in English and math.
“It’s turned out to be illusory and not attainable by any state,” Krist said.
The Obama administration has been exempting states from the 100 percent proficiency goal and other key provisions — but only if they meet a list of reforms.
Children's Center teacher Karina Diaz reads a book to preschoolers.
With preschools around the Southland closed for the holidays, most little children are home running rings their parents. And no doubt those parents are appreciating the work their preschool teachers do every day.
William Yu, an Economist with the Anderson Forecast, said they do it all for among the lowest pay scale of any occupation.
"We should think about it: -should we pay $72,000 for prison guard and at the same time we only pay $32,000 on a preschool teacher?" he asked. "I think we should ask ourselves, 'is this a wise resource allocation?'”
And it’s not just poor pay that preschool teachers put up with.
"A lot of the preschool teachers don’t get the recognition," said Claudia Sarmiento of nonprofit group, LA Universal Preschools.
To make up for that, her group, known as LAUP decided six years ago to recognize preschool teachers for their critical work and created the Annual Preschool Teacher of the Year award. The nomination deadline has just been extended to January 6 -- so parents still have time to nominate a great preschool teacher.
"Let's recognize the great work that these preschool teachers are doing," she said. "It will inspire them to continue doing the great things for the children that they serve."
The award winner, who will be announced in April, will win $2,000.
Costa Mesa elementary school principal led two meetings Monday morning for parents and teachers. The topic: school security.
Conversations across Southern California campuses Monday mostly centered on one thing: security.
Stephen Allen and his wife spent the weekend assessing whether someone could sneak onto California Elementary School in Costa Mesa, where his son is in the second grade.
"We kind of went through, me and my wife, through what they do here. It seems like it shouldn't be able to happen here, but you never know," he said.
The school's principal, Matt Broesamle, said the Allens have nothing to worry about.
"During the day this gate right here remains locked, the front gate right there where kids are walking through is locked, the only way to access the campus is through the front office right there," Broesamle said, pointing.
The principal led two meetings Monday morning. He addressed about 40 parents, explaining the gate system and emergency plans. And then he met with teachers to remind them of safety policies and proceedures -- and to mentor them on how to talk to students about the shooting.