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

Congress forces defense department to restore military Tuition Assistance program

US Army V Corps To Leave Europe For Afghanistan

Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images

A soldier of the U.S. Army V Corps at the U.S. Army base in Wiesbaden, Germany. Many members of the military depended on the Tuition Assistance program to help better their lives with college degrees. Today, Congress voted to reinstate the program, which had been a victim of sequestration cuts.

Just a few weeks after it was suspended, a decades-old financial aid program for the military was saved today when the U.S. House of Representatives approved a spending bill that will restore the aid for active duty troops.

The Tuition Assistance program had been a financial lifeline to members of the military looking to jumpstart their college careers while still on active duty. It paid up to $4,500 a year for classes. But after sequestration cuts went into effect March 1, the Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and Army stopped approving new requests - upsetting troops who relied on the benefit. 

“It’s something that just has to be preserved,” said Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of Burbank voted in support of the spending bill.

Sequestration put into motion about $46 billion in defense cuts for the 2013 fiscal year – that’s roughly 9 percent in cuts to every defense account other than personnel funding, according to the Department of Defense.


Cal State trustees discuss planned $125 million funding increase

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California Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed increases to Cal State funding.

Trustees of the California State University system on Tuesday began deliberating how to spend a $125 million funding increase proposed by Governor Jerry Brown.

"After struggling through one of the toughest times in CSU history, the system is now in a position to address some of its critical needs," said Robert Turnage, the assistant vice chancellor for budget.

If the increase is approved by the state legislature in June, Cal State’s funding would increase to $2.3 billion. That would be a big reversal. Cal State has suffered $1 billion in cuts over the last five years. The cuts have led Cal State administrators to limit enrollment.

It's not alone. The state has closed budget deficits in recent years by drastically reducing funds for K-12 schools and community colleges as well as public universities.  


Why Antonio Villaraigosa fell short as LA's education mayor

Math School Initiative

Damian Dovarganes/AP

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, left, and Meg Whitman, right, help third grade elementary math class students: David Ozorio, middle, and Cecil Pascal, right, at the 99th St. Elementary campus Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011, in Los Angeles.

Doe v Deasy

Andres Aguila/KPCC

Attorney Scott Witlin, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and EdVoice president Bill Lucia (Left to right) talk to the media about the decision in the case of Doe v. Deasy on June 12, 2012. The case is wanting to make LAUSD to include student performance data as part of its evaluation of teachers and school administrators.

Antonio Villaraigosa/

Mayor Villaraigosa speaks and listens to parents and teachers at an L.A. elementary school about the impending school district's budget cuts.

As Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa prepares to step down in June, among the achievements he takes credit for during his eight years in office is improving one institution that the law gives him no authority over: the public schools.

Yet if any one policy area shows where his ambition outstripped his performance, it would be in his oversight of the city's troubled schools.

Villaraigosa campaigned, in part, on the idea that power over the city’s schools should shift to his office.
“I’ve said that I believe that the next mayor should be involved with the schools,” Villaraigosa said during a mayoral candidate forum in 2005. “And I even see a role similar to (Michael) Bloomberg in New York and (Richard) Daley in Chicago, where the mayor has oversight over the schools.”

RELATED: Antonio Villaraigosa's Legacy in LA


Preschool teachers need schooling in health and nutrition facts -- and practices

Larry Crowe/AP

Digging into the concept of whether you can teach what you don't know, a recent survey by researchers at the University of Texas School of Public Health sought to uncover the health and nutrition knowledge --and practices-- of a group of teachers.

Two of the questions asked of almost 200 Head Start teachers in Texas:

  • Do you know how many servings of fruits and vegetables we should eat each day? What about which of the five food groups we should be consuming most?
  • Now stop and think about your diet yesterday. Did you eat enough fruit and vegetables, and consume enough grains?

Turns out most didn’t have the best habits, according to survey results published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Of the 173 teachers interviewed, only four answered at least four of the five nutrition questions correctly. More than half --  54% -- of the teachers said they found it difficult to figure out the right answer.


States to consider financial literacy requirements for K-12 students

Piles of cash

Photo by 401K via Flickr Creative Commons

Schools have long tried to impart money management skills to students through a variety of programs: elective classes in partnership with banks and nonprofit groups, after-school programs that teach economic basics and “life-skills” to round out a student’s academic education.

Now a nonprofit promoting financial education, the Council for Economic Education, will be unveiling financial literacy standards next month, pegged to "financial literacy" month. They establish benchmarks for what kids should know about money by the end of 4th, 8th and 12th grade.  The group said it will be going state by state to get them implemented.

The lessons include:

  • Earning income: Not just collecting a paycheck, but also collecting rent, stock dividends and interest on bonds. It also includes a discussion of the labor market and how education may lead to higher wages.
  • Buying goods and services: How to plan, compare, budget and making choices in the marketplace.
  • Saving: How to set near- and long-term goals and how time, interest rates and inflation affect savings.
  • Using credit: Borrowing options and how credit history helps determine availability of credit and the rate of interest.
  • Investing: This includes risk, rates of return and diversification.
  • Protecting and insuring: This includes potential loss of health, assets, income and identity, and how behavior affects the cost of insurance.