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

Google partners with CSU to bolster STEM education in California

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A brain trust of educators, philanthropists and business leaders convened in San Diego to discuss how science, technology, engineering and math – STEM subjects – are taught in California schools.

The summit wrapped up Tuesday afternoon - but not before honoring a dozen “Leading Women in STEM”, all of whom work in science and technology-driven fields. Including LA’s own, Rachel Bondi, Chief of Mobile Innovations for the talent agency, CAA.

The other big reveal: a $25,000 grant that partners Google with the California State University System, and the California STEM Learning Network – the nonprofit that hosted the conference.

All three organizations are members of the “100K in 10” campaign – a program the Obama administration launched to recruit 100,000 new STEM teachers over the next decade.  (An attempt to thwart the looming shortage of STEM teachers across the country.)


LAUSD urges students, community members to vote

Presidential Primary Election

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LAUSD officials are urging students, parents and community members to vote in next month's election. The district has nearly 11,000 students who are 18 years old.

Like public school educators throughout the state, L.A. Unified officials and board members are urging students, parents and concerned adults to vote in next month's election and are working to inform them about Propositions 30 and 38.

Both measures aim to generate money through tax increases to avert about $6 billion in cuts to education. (For more on those measures visit KPCC's political blog Represent.)

School board member Tamar Galatzan will hold a town hall Tuesday night in the west San Fernando Valley. Representatives from the Prop. 30 and 38 campaigns will be present. So will Superintendent John Deasy and other L.A. Unified officials who can help answer specific questions.

The meeting will be at Cleveland High School, which is located at 8140 Vanalden Avenue, Reseda, CA 91335 in the Multi-Purpose Room. There will be on-site parking and Spanish translation.


CA Department of Education: Destroy tainted peanut butter headed to Southland schools, churches & food banks

Dozens of California schools used peanut butter from a New Mexico peanut manufacturer linked to a salmonella outbreak. State education officials are telling schools to destroy peanut butter made by Sunland Incorporated. In all, 144 school districts, churches, and other nonprofits in Central and Southern California received shipments of peanut butter purchased by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the the National School Lunch and Commodity Supplemental Food Programs.

State education officials told the school districts and other agencies to take an inventory of the peanut butter and destroy it.

School districts in Paramount, Coachella Valley, San Gabriel, Redlands, and Compton received from 12 to 200 cases each of peanut butter made at Sunland’s Portales, New Mexico plant. State education officials say they know of no students eating the peanut butter and getting sick. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says at least five people in California have reported salmonella infections. Across the country, 35 people – mostly children – in 19 states were infected. No deaths have been reported.


Education and the 2012 election: A strategist's analysis

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"The governor [has] got to get out there and say 'Look, this is the California that I envisioned, and in that California, schools play a critical role. It's about the future of our kids. It's about the future of the state and the country. And this is how [Prop.] 30 fits into that," said Darry Sragow, a longtime political strategist.

Over the weekend, I spoke with Darry Sragow, an attorney and longtime Democratic strategist, about education's role in the 2012 election. Sragow has worked on several school bond campaigns at L.A. Unified and the Los Angeles Community College District. I picked his brain on the role of education in the national debate this election season. I also got some of his thoughts on the campaigns for Prop. 30 and Prop. 38. Educators throughout the state support the two initiatives to raise taxes in the hope that voters will approve them next month and school budgets will be saved.

Q: Why is education not really figuring into the national debate during this election season?

A: Education is usually in California the No. 1 issue. If it's not education, it's the economy, and at the moment, it's the economy. Education is not an issue most voters think can be inherently dealt with at a national level. Schools are local and so voters inherently expect to have a dialogue about education in local races and maybe in state races in their state, but it's really a national issue only in a very broad policy sense. That's not insignificant, because at a national level you can set standards, "No Child Left Behind," things like that. But it's tough to address it concretely in the national race. Plus, of course, the big national issue is jobs.


Parent Trigger group wins another legal battle

Parents in the desert community of Adelanto have won a critical victory in their mission to take over Desert Trails Elementary School under the “parent trigger law.”

A San Bernardino County Superior Court judge has upheld a ruling that allowed the Desert Trails Parent Union to move forward with plans to convert the failing elementary school into a charter school.

The judge also ordered the Adelanto School District to halt efforts to stop the changeover. In August, district officials announced they would not relinquish control of the school.

Cynthia Ramirez, a lead petitioner and organizer of the Desert Trails Trigger movement, said she’s “thrilled and obviously really excited" with the judge’s ruling.

"This decision finally lets us move forward with voting on who we want to come in and take over the school" said Ramirez.