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

South LA Schools team up to fight reconsitution

The conflict between activists and LA Unified Superintendent John Deasy over the district’s reconstitution of Dorsey High School is coming to a head. Just as the final deadline to prevent a school takeover looms for Dorsey (it has until Oct. 31 to submit a school reform plan), Crenshaw High School faces a similar process.

That’s why the two South LA schools joined forces and organized a public meeting tonight to inform Crenshaw parents and students about the disctrict's effort to reform underachieving schools. 

LA Unified can reconstitute a school when it fails to meet state-mandated educational benchmarks under the federal No Child Left Behind act. That means the district can lay off the entire staff at a school and make everyone re-apply for their jobs. Those who are re-hired must sign contracts that includes provisions based on student performance on standardized tests.


UC Riverside Chancellor Timothy White chosen to lead 23-campus California State University system

Timothy White

Steven Cuevas/KPCC

Timothy White

After four years as head of U.C. Riverside, Timothy White is leaving that job to become chancellor of the massive California State University system. Cal State made the announcement Thursday after it completed final interviews earlier this week.

White becomes the seventh chancellor of the Cal State system. He’ll take over the nation’s largest university system amid major budget cuts, tuition increases, and reductions in courses and enrollment that have affected the system’s 427,000 students.

“I actually feel very humbled, very honored, very grateful but also very prepared in order to go forward,” White said in a conference call announcing his appointment.

Exiting Cal State chancellor Charles Reed praised White’s selection. “I am really pleased and proud that the board has selected somebody that really understands the California State University mission,” Reed said.


LAUSD considers making arts education a 'core subject'

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Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

LA Unified's school board is considering a measure that would make arts education a 'core subject.'

The L.A. Unified school board will vote on a measure Tuesday that would make arts education a "core subject," prohibit further cuts to the arts, and ultimately restore some money to arts programs. 

The measure, sponsored by board member Nury Martinez, would require Superintendent John Deasy to return to the board by July 1 with a plan on implementing "Arts at the Core" that includes funding strategies, ways to collect data to measure student learning through the arts, professional development for instructors, and benchmarks for success.

Arts education has found itself on the chopping block during district budget discussions as state support for it has declined in the last several years.

This measure requires a restoration of arts education funds to 2007-8 funding levels within five years. Within 10 years it aims to increase the number of arts teachers to match similar urban school districts so that each middle school can offer at least three arts disciplines. 


Educator with local roots picked to take over troubled Inglewood Unified

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez

California’s State Superintendent announced Wednesday he’s chosen Kent Taylor, the current superintendent of Southern Kern Unified, to take over administration of the fiscally troubled Inglewood Unified School District.

This summer the school district requested and state legislators approved a bailout loan that kept the district from insolvency and stripped the 12,000-student district of local control.

The announcement caps a years-long process - led by the board of education and local superintendent - of budget cutting, loans, LA County oversight, and finally a state bailout. Inglewood Unified’s board room was standing-room-only with education activists, employee union leaders, and elected officials. They were there to witness the school district lose local control for the first time in its 58-year history.


UPDATED: CSU Campuses spread the word on Prop 30

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University library at the Cal State Long Beach campus.

California State University campuses are trying to spread the word on why voters should say “Yes” to Proposition 30 – a measure that raises taxes to prevent further state cuts to education.

Over the next week, Cal State campuses in Sacramento, Long Beach, and San Francisco are hosting nformational events detailing the potential impact of the tax initiative. Voter registration drives are also part of the effort. Some critics, including the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, charge that with actions like this the public university system is engaging in improper political advocacy.

KPCC’s Julie Small recently reported that although a slim majority favors Prop 30 – 55% of survey respondents say they support the quarter cent tax hike - pollsters say its fate is “vulnerable.”

If voters approve it, the measure would prevent a $250 million “trigger” cut to CSU’s budget that would take effect at the end of the year.