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

California congressman: college students shouldn't be charged "hidden" debit card fees

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College students complain that the debit cards issued for their financial aid charge withdrawal fees. Officials are investigating.

Debit cards, fast replacing cash and checks, have become a common vehicle for colelges to dole out financial aid. Students have complained the card issuers are ripping them off, pennies at a time and thsoe complaints have reached authorities.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced on Thursday that it has launched an inquiry into whether school-issued debit card agreements are in the best interest of students.

The government agency, which enforces federal consumer financial laws, last year began hearing from students who’d been charged fees to withdraw money to pay for college.

California Congressman George Miller said his office found that nearly one million college students in the state have very little access to fee-free ATMs. Only one on each campus.

“Too many students,” Miller said in a statement “have been slammed with hidden fees and penalties that cut into their already limited financial aid dollars. And if students don't pay close attention, they can find precious aid dollars wasted on debit-card fees.”


Out-of-state students surpass Calfornians vying for entry to USC

California v USC

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The USC Trojans enter the field. For the first time in the school's history, out-of-state applicants surpassed in-state.

The University of Southern California is pushing to attract students from all over the country and the world. And it's paying off. For the first time in its 133 year history, a majority of applications for admission this year came from outside the Golden State.

USC’s dean of admissions told the campus newspaper that 50.5% of applications for fall 2013 admission came from students outside California.

The university has increased the number of recruiters it sends to thousands of high schools in 48 states to promote USC., more than tripling the number assigned to the Midwest and East Coast.

Foreign recruitment is also a priority. The university takes the top spot nationwide for foreign student enrollment, with about 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students from foreign countries studying at the South Los Angeles university this year. That's about 10 percent of the student body.


As other states seek to increase preschool budget, California stays flat

Los Angeles Universal Preschool

Courtesy of Los Angeles Universal Preschool

Starting at the White House and kindling in governors' offices nationwide, there’s a move underfoot to increase access to early childhood education programs. Except in California.

Governor Jerry Brown isn't actively cutting preschool programs -- his recent budget proposal kept funding the same as last year; It's that he is not actually doing anything to improve it.

Still, after suffering $1.2 billion in cuts over four years, advocates are crossing their fingers the proposal marks and end to reductions in the state's early childhood education budget.

If you can't quite grasp the impact of that $1.2 billion loss, a coalition of groups has followed the money -- or lack of it -- and mapped the results, neighborhood by neighborhood. Los Angeles County suffered the most dramatic losses. Not surprisingly, they have hit hardest in low-income areas.

This data was compiled by the Los Angeles Children’s Data Network, which includes the Advancement Project/Healthy City, First Five LA and a number of other government, advocacy and data organizations.


Principal at center of LAUSD's latest sex abuse scandal may lose credential

NBC Los Angeles

A file photo of a police car outside George De La Torre Jr. Elementary School in Wilmington.

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing will decide today whether to suspend a principal for allegedly failing to report abuse by one of her teachers.

Irene Hinojosa was a principal at George de la Torre Elementary School in Wilmington, where former fourth grade teacher, Robert Pimentel, is accused of sexually abusing 19 students.

Although Hinojosa has since retired from LAUSD, the Commission will vote in a closed session on a recommendation to suspend her Administrative Services Credential for 60 days, preventing her from working in any other school district. Hinojosa’s current certificate allows her to work in the state through October 1, 2014.

The Commission revoked Pimentel’s teaching credential on January 28.  He too, resigned from the district last March, when Superintendent John Deasy began dismissal proceedings.


7 California Republicans propose training school staff to use guns

Gun Buyback - 2

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Handguns are thrown into trash bins for melting at a gun buyback event.

A group of seven California Republican state legislators wants to allow school districts to use state funds to train staff to use guns to ward off campus attackers.

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly said Wednesday that he introduced AB 202 in response to the December shooting at a Connecticut elementary school that killed 20 children and six adults.

Current law allows school staff to carry a concealed firearm on campuses.

The Twin Peaks lawmaker says his bill would expand that by allowing school districts to use state funds to give firearm training to teachers, administrators and other staff in a "school marshal" program.

He says the program would also serve as a deterrent to would-be intruders.

Democratic State Sen. Leland Yee predicts the bill will have a hard time winning approval.