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

University of California President Mark Yudof to step down in August

Mercer 11909

AP / Paul Sakuma

University of California President Mark Yudof speaks during a news conference at UC offices in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Nov. 8, 2010.

University of California President Mark Yudof said Friday that he plans to step down in August, citing a "spate of taxing health issues."

Yudof, 68, said he plans to end his tenure on Aug. 31, about five years after he became head of the 10-campus system. The former law professor plans to return to teaching law on the UC Berkeley campus.

"The prior 18 months brought a spate of taxing health issues," Yudof said in a statement. "Though these challenges have been largely overcome, I feel it is time to make a change in my professional lifestyle."

In June 2008, Yudof replaced Robert Dynes as leader of the UC system, one of the world's leading research universities with about 220,000 students. He was chancellor of the University of Texas system from 2002 to 2008 and president of the University of Minnesota system from 1997 to 2002.

Yudof has led the University of California through a tumultuous period, when deep cuts in state funding led to sharp tuition hikes, cuts to academic programs and rowdy campus protests.

The university's finances are expected to stabilize. In his 2013-2014 budget, Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed increasing state funding for UC by $250 million, an increase made possible by the November passage of his Proposition 30 tax initiative.

"Now, it appears the storm has been weathered. We are not fully in the clear, but we are much closer than we were even a few months ago," Yudof said.


Parents invoke trigger to shake up failing LA Unified school


Vanessa Romo/KPCC

Parents of children at 24th Street Elementary held up placards for passing motorists as they descended upon LAUSD headquarters Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 to deliver a petition to take over the failing school.

Hundreds of parents from a West Adams elementary school on Thursday invoked the “Parent Trigger” law to take over the failing 24th Street Elementary school. It's the first attempt to use the controversial law in L.A. Unified since it was passed in 2010 -- and could mark a turning point for parent-reform advocates. 

Amabilia Villeda, the leader of the Padres de 24 Parent Union leading the effort, handed Superintendent John Deasy some of the signatures she’d been gathering over the last nine months in a door-to-door campaign.
“I hope now you’ll hear us,” she said.

The school in the Historic West Adams neighborhood has a slew of problems. It’s one of the worst performing in the state and in the bottom 2% of the district. Two in three students can’t read at grade level and it has the second highest suspension rate for elementary schools in all of LAUSD. Villeda said parents want a new principal and experienced teachers.


Los Angeles unified parents file petition demanding reforms at failing elementary school

24th Street Elementary School Mascot

Courtesy LAUSD

A mural at 24th Street Elementary School.

Some parents in Los Angeles are following the lead of a Mojave group by using California's landmark "parent trigger" law in a bid to improve their children's education.

A group of parents filed a petition with the Los Angeles Unified School District demanding major reforms at an elementary school where fewer than a third of students read at grade level.

Superintendent John Deasy received the petitions, delivered in a children's red wagon on Thursday. He promised to meet with parents next week after reviewing them.

Amabilia Villeda says she and other parents want immediate change at the 24th Street Elementary School, which is located in an impoverished, immigrant neighborhood south of downtown Los Angeles.

The parents are using California's landmark "parent trigger" law. It allows parents to force a district to undertake radical action to reform a low performing school if more than half of parents sign a simple petition.

RELATED: Parent demand leads Mojave Desert elementary to convert to charter school

The parents are being helped by Parent Revolution, which describes itself on its website as:

"Our mission: To transform public education based on what is good for children, not adults, by empowering parents to transform their under-performing schools through community organizing."


LAUSD's Crenshaw High to become 3 magnet schools

Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy  sp

AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy, seen here in a file photo, told Crenshaw parents "the quality of instruction is not what it needs to be.”

L.A. Unified voted Tuesday to revamp Crenshaw High School – one of the worst performing schools in the district. But the plan has some parents and teachers up in arms.

Crenshaw’s 1,500 students will be split into three separate magnet schools. While officials are still working out the details, they told parents last month that the magnet programs are likely to focus on the arts, business and science, and technology, engineering and math.

All six school board members present at the monthly meeting voted unanimously to back Superintendent John Deasy. They agreed that the only way to improve the school’s abysmal academic scores is to scrap its current program.

But parents and students who’d waited more than four hours to speak against the plan could not contain their anger over the board’s decision. They sparred with board president Monica Garcia and member Marguerite LaMotte, who represents Crenshaw and voted in favor of the overhaul.


Parents plan protest of Deasy's plans for Crenshaw High School

School Shooting

Nick Ut/AP

After months of uncertainty, the future of Crenshaw High School will likely be decided at Tuesday's  monthly L.A. Unified school board meeting.

The board will vote on whether to approve Superintendent John Deasy’s plan to convert the high school into three separate magnet schools or allow it to continue operating under the Extended Learning Cultural Model. If it passes, it also means all current staff has to reapply for jobs at the South Los Angeles school.

Parents, students and teachers say they were excluded from the decision making process, and have so far been denied a public meeting with the Superintendent. Tuesday’s meeting is their last chance to block Deasy’s plans.

Members of the Crenshaw Coalition of Parents said they’ll stage a protest and urge board members not just to reverse the school takeover, but also to increase the school’s funding to pay for more social services, college counseling and parent engagement.