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

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.


California State University launches online degree program

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Anibal Ortiz

Cal State Fullerton will be among those offering online degrees

On Monday the 23-campus Cal State University system becomes the largest public university to roll out online degree programs.

It’s offering six degrees at both the bachelor and masters level in business administration, applied studies, public administration, and management information technology-- a bit of a slow start.

The university's targetting students who already have some Cal State or community college classes under their belt, said John Welty, chair of Cal State’s online advisory board.

“We know there are large numbers of students wanting to complete degrees," he said, "particularly in areas like business and applied studies so this is an effort to provide additional access to the citizens of California."

The first batch will be offered by the Cal State campuses in Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, and Monterey Bay. The  Northridge, Fresno, and East Bay campuses will begin offering fully online degree programs later this year, officials said.


Feedback: Here's what you think about the state's changes to standardized tests

An empty classroom

BES Photos/Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

State school officials say standardized tests as we know them — the multiple choice kind that require Scantron forms and No. 2 pencils — are not working for teachers or students. 

What we need,  California Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson said last week, is to  move away from memorization-driven tests.  He's proposing an assessment exam that draws on analytical skills, problem solving, and writing, which are in line with the Common Core curriculum set to debut in 2015.

We asked you for your thoughts on Torlakson's recommendations, which include a moratorium on all state testing next school year, making kids subject only to federally mandated exams. He said that would give teachers, students and administrators “breathing room” to transition to the new curriculum.

In response to our questions, many of you said students are not receiving a balanced education because teachers devote too much time classroom time teaching to the test.


Charter school advocacy group endorse LAUSD school board candidates

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David McNew/Getty Images

Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education in April.

The Coalition for School Reform --an advocate for charter schools-- has picked its horses in the three Los Angeles Unified school board races. It's placing its bets on Monica Garcia in District 2, Kate Anderson in District 4, and Antonio Sanchez in District 6.

Monica Garcia, who’s been on the school board since 2006, is defending her seat against five challengers: Annamarie Montanez, Isabel Vazquez, Abelardo Diaz and Robert Skeels. Garcia is backed by the Service Employees International Union but lost the support from the Los Angeles County Democratic Party over her support of charter schools.

Kate Anderson made a name for herself as a parent advocate. She's running against incumbent Steve Zimmer, who is endorsed by SEIU and United Teachers Los Angeles.

Antonio Sanchez is running to fill Nury Martinez’s seat, the only one not contested by an incumbent. He’s picked up support from UTLA, SEIU, and LA County Federation of Labor’s COPE Committee. The 30-year-old Sanchez faces off against Maria Cano, who favors more oversight of charter schools, teacher Monica Ratliff, and Iris Zuniga an executive for the charter school operator Youth Policy Institute.


Coeducation effort at Deep Springs College dealt setback in Inyo County court ruling

Deep Springs College

Molly Peterson/KPCC

Deep Springs sits in California's high desert. A current student body of 28 men runs a cattle ranch and an alfalfa farm, as well, as a mostly organic garden.

An Inyo County court has dealt a setback to a coeducation effort at an unusual eastern Sierra college that for a century has only admitted men.

A majority of trustees at Deep Springs College approved plans to open admission to women in the fall of 2011. They sought approval from a superior court. Two trustees, alumni who voted against those plans, challenged the action. They argue that one of the school’s organizing documents, the deed of trust, makes explicit the educational purpose of the college’s founder, L.L. Nunn.

In part the deed of trust provides that the college property is to be used for  “the education of promising young men, in a manner emphasizing the need and opportunity for unselfish service, and uplifting mankind from materialism to idealism, to a life in harmony with the creator, in the conduct of which educational work of democratic self government by the students themselves shall be a feature, as is now the case at Deep Springs.”