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

Belmont High, Esteban E. Torres High among LA schools to benefit from $1.7 million in grants

LAUSD board meeting protesters

Tami Abdollah / KPCC

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside L.A. Unified headquarters downtown to protest budget cuts earlier this year.

More than a dozen Los Angeles schools will benefit from $1.7 million in foundation funds as part of a broad national initiative to improve learning opportunities for students from lower-income neighborhoods.

The California Community Foundation announced today that it has received $1.5 million from the Ford Foundation to support additional learning experiences for disadvantaged students. The funds will go to those who may not have access to the music lessons, tutors or sports activities of their more advantaged peers.

"We have 15 million young people in this country who have essentially no adult supervision, and very little to do between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. in the afternoon, and also, many of them are kind of footloose in the summertime," said Jeannie Oakes, director of educational opportunity and school scholarship at the Ford Foundation.

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UC regents vow to freeze tuition if Gov's November tax measure passes

LaHood  Announces Funding For Rail Development Project At Port Of Oakland

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The University of California is promising to freeze tuition for the coming academic year if Governor Jerry Brown’s November tax measure is approved.

The University of California is promising to freeze tuition for the coming academic year if Governor Jerry Brown’s November tax measure is approved. 

But the measure’s failure could lead to a 20 percent mid-year increase.

The UC’s carrot-and-stick approach stems from the way the state budget is set up: if Brown’s tax initiative (Proposition 30) passes, and the university freezes its tuition, it would receive an extra $125 million — money the UC hasn’t received in years. 

But if Prop 30 fails, the university would take a $250 million mid-year cut. So President Mark Yudof is warning students that Prop 30 is the only realistic way to keep tuition down.

"They need to know it, their families need to know it and their friends and neighbors need to know it," says Yudof.

The potential 20 percent tuition increase would add up to about $2,500 a student.

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Officials say leaked test questions have no effect on exams

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Education officials have found that the online posting of photos of the state standardized test posed no significant impact on the integrity of the exams.

California education officials have found the online posting of photos of the state standardized test during testing in May posed no significant impact on the integrity of the exams.

Paul Hefner, communications director for the California Department of Education, said the vast majority of the 442 images were of closed booklets for the Standardized Testing and Reporting exam or illegible pages that were snapped by students with cell phones.

The photos were posted on social media websites, including MySpace and Facebook.

About 36 test questions, however, were clearly readable and hundreds of schools had the questions on their tests (including North Hollywood Senior High, Glendale High, Millikan High and North Monterey County High Schools).

Hefner says the scoring formula for the schools where students exposed the questions is being adjusted to eliminate those items without affecting test results.

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Jose Luis Orozco, rockstar to toddlers, has taught language through song for decades

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

Jose Luis Orozco, rock star to the toddler and preschool set.

Jose Luis Orozco is a rock star — at least to the toddler and preschool set (along with their parents). The Santa Cruz-based musician has performed children’s songs in Spanish and English for more than four decades. Even if crowd surfing’s unlikely at his Levitt Pavilion concert Wednesday night in Pasadena, it is likely that parents may be the loudest people in the audience.

Orozco talked about his career at a recent Los Angeles performance in the Silver Lake Public Library, during that magic time between nap and dinner. About 20 kids and their parents gathered to hear Orozco sing and play guitar. He began the show with standards like “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” which he then blended into Spanish. 

The bilingual performance teaches kids two sets of words, two different ways of communicating with the same melody and it creates a positive setting for kids to express themselves in multiple ways. It is how many people around the world grow up, Orozco said, and how many U.S. parents want their kids to communicate.  

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Cal State trustees approve salary increases for 3 campus presidents, despite freeze

Vanessa Romo/KPCC

Cal State trustees have OK'd salary increases for three of their campus presidents, by-passing a compensation freeze by using private funds. This comes on the heels of campus rallys protesting the Cal State system for hiking tuition.

The Cal State University trustees approved salary increases for three campus presidents on Tuesday. 

Technically there’s a freeze on all executive compensation for Cal State’s 23 campuses because the system’s finances are in such bad shape, meaning that state money can’t go to raises for campus presidents. But, nevertheless, trustees approved a raise for three university presidents — drawing on money from independently-run foundations. 

"So again, that’s not taxpayer funds," says Mike Uhlenkamp with the Cal State chancellor's office. "It’s private funds that [are] generated by the fundraising arm of their respective university."

Uhlenkamp says the university system wants to remain competitive in a national marketplace for talent "whether it’s for a president, a faculty member or a staff member."

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