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

LAUSD board votes to extend superintendent's contract through June 2015

John Deasy

Nick Ut/AP

John Deasy, head of the Los Angeles Unified School District, has had his contract extended for one more year through June 2015.

The L.A. Unified board Tuesday unanimously approved extending Superintendent John Deasy's contract for one more year through June 2015.

The vote was 6-0 with board member Richard Vladovic absent because of a "hardship," according to a release from school board President Monica Garcia's office. The formerly two-year contract was set to expire in June 2014.

“Dr. Deasy and his administrative team helped move our district forward in the face of so many challenges," Garcia said in the statement. "It is evident that there is good, thoughtful leadership at LAUSD and the unanimous vote validates that.”

The contract extension was part of the district's regular annual evaluation of the superintendent's performance.

Tami Abdollah can be reached via email and on Twitter (@latams).


Compton superintendent on student walkout: Student protests should be before or after school

University of the Pacific/Flickr

District officials didn’t have much to say after Tuesday’s student-led protest during which approximately 70 students walked out of class and marched several blocks from Compton High School to district headquarters.  

On Wednesday, Superintendent Darin Brawley released the following statement encouraging “stakeholders” to voice their concerns:

"…However, it should not be at the expense of valuable instructional time for students. We encourage that in the future, any and all protests by students be conducted before or after school."

Supt. Brawley went on to assure frustrated students concerned about the district’s plan to dissolve Advanced Placement programs that “no such thing has been proposed nor implemented for any of our secondary school sites.”

Read more: Compton High School students walk out of class


LAUSD arts funding cut 76% in five years

arts education budget cuts

L.A. Unified

In the last five years, funding for arts education at L.A. Unified has dropped from a budgeted high of $78.6 million in 2007-8 to $18.6 million this year. The district has committed to returning funds to the 2007-8 levels.

In the last five years, funding for arts education at L.A. Unified has dropped from a budgeted high of $78.6 million to $18.6 million.

The 76 percent drop in funding equates to about $60 million, and is the result of a dramatic decrease in state support and the district's need to constrict its budget in response.

With a greater awareness for the importance of arts education today, LAUSD hasn't singled out the arts for cuts as much as before, but still cuts have happened amid the economic downturn.

"When things start getting cut, legal mandates win, and other things fall to the wayside," said L.A. Unified senior arts coordinator Steven McCarthy. He's now the only staffer of the school district's "arts education branch," which used to include about 20 people. 

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


API scores: An educational horse race that will soon change

L.A. County Fair

The California Department of Education will release the Academic Performance Index numbers Thursday in an annual tradition that is perhaps the closest equivalent to educational horse racing — parents and schools obsess over the scores and districts work to make them higher.

The California Department of Education will release the Academic Performance Index numbers Thursday in an annual tradition that's the educational equivalent to horse racing — like oddsmakers poring over a racing form, parents and schools obsess over the meaning of scores; like trainers in search of a winning strategy, school districts sweat to push the scores higher.

But this state measure, as it currently exists, will soon be obsolete.

The API gives schools a score between 200 and 1000 that's calculated from the STAR (Standardized Testing and Reporting) exam and the California High School Exit Examination results; schools aim for a score of at least 800. 

But educators say that's hardly a full measure of a school's effectiveness. Parents often have to dig for other relevant information such as class sizes and graduation rates.


Compton College back on road to accreditation and local control, 7 years after corruption scandal

Compton College lost its academic accreditation and local control seven years ago after a corruption and mismanagement scandal. On Thursday evening the community college’s chief executive plans a public meeting to publicize the timeline toward accreditation.

Compton College had an illustrious 80-year history before it lost academic accreditation and nearby El Camino College took over its administration.

A state-appointed administrator and a chief executive officer make decisions for the school in place of a board of trustees and college president. Chief executive Keith Curry has led two public roundtables to discuss Compton College’s steps toward applying for accreditation. Curry’s also talking about a five-year major construction effort he’d like to launch in two years.

The college encourages roundtable participation from people in the cities of Compton, Paramount, Lynwood, Bellflower, and Carson. The Compton College community roundtable begins Thursday at 6:00 p.m. at the Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum in Compton.