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

LA Unified to review files on teacher misconduct over last 3 years and report to state agency

Krista Kennell/AFP/Getty Images

Parents and children protest outside Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles, California, February 6, 2012.

L.A. Unified will go back and report (or re-report) every case of a teacher accused of misconduct over the last three years to the state credentialing commission as part of an internal investigation into its failure to provide a timely report on former Miramonte Elementary School teacher Mark Berndt, who is accused of spoon-feeding his semen to children.

"I ordered my staff to re-file every single report over the last three academic years and of course the year that I'm in now, just as an abundance of caution, to make sure that no particular case slipped through the cracks and to be quite clear that every case was sent to the commission on teacher credentialing," Superintendent John Deasy told KPCC on air today during his regular monthly radio talk.

Deasy, who appeared in the KPCC studio with a black ash mark on his forehead for Ash Wednesday, declined to speak with KPCC's education reporters. However, he was asked some of their questions on air.


Cal State faculty to vote on statewide strike for all campuses over contract


Protesters at a California Faculty Association-sponsored rally in San Francisco.

California State University's faculty union plans to vote on whether to strike at all 23 Cal State campuses if contract negotiations remain unsuccessful.

The board of the California Faculty Association decided Tuesday to hold a strike authorization vote in mid-April.

It will be the second time the union has taken a strike vote in the past four months. The last vote led to one-day walkouts at the East Bay and Dominguez Hills campuses on Nov. 17.

Both sides have been negotiating for 18 months.

At issue are contract proposals that would increase benefit costs or deny wage increases. The union also is seeking limits on class sizes and more faculty rights in CSU's for-profit arms, including Extended Education classes.

The union represents about 23,000 professors, lecturers, coaches, counselors and librarians.


L.A. City Council unanimously approves changes to daytime curfew law

Students rally to support change to LA's daytime curfew law

Tami Abdollah / KPCC

Students rally to support a change to LA's daytime curfew law at a February 2012 meeting of L.A. City Council's public safety committee.

L.A. City Council unanimously voted this morning in favor of changes to the city's daytime curfew law to improve how the city deals with its truant students.

The measure, proposed by Councilmember Tony Cardenas, is one piece of a countywide effort to more holistically address problems with student attendance and to focus on understanding why a student is late rather than punishing them with a $250 fine.

"The parent, the school, everybody is now attending to that young person and actually asking the question 'What's going on?,' and after asking the question, we're listening to them," Cardenas said. "That is the way we should be doing things."

Under the amended municipal code, police will no longer cite students on their way to class or running late. Students will also not be fined the first two times they are ticketed. And instead of appearing in court, they will be directed to a counselor. For a third offense, a $20 citation may be issued and the student must appear in court.


US Supreme Court takes on college affirmative action; UC, Cal State already prohibit considering race

People wait to enter outside the US Supr

Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

People wait to enter outside the US Supreme Court March 21, 2011 in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to hear a white student’s challenge to affirmative action in admissions at the University of Texas.

The University of California and Cal State systems already prohibit schools from considering race when they admit students.

Attorney Joshua Thompson says that’s the way it should be across the country. He wrote a brief to support the Texas student’s case.

“The reason that our government should not look to race when making decisions is the reason that we have the 14th Amendment," Thompson told KPCC's Larry Mantle. "We should not be stereotyping people. We should not be discriminating against people.”

George Washington represents the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action. He says admissions officials should consider race, just as they do applicants’ social backgrounds and economic status.


Sunland middle school teacher removed pending investigation

Students bus Loyola Village Elementary School

Tami Abdollah / KPCC

Students enter an LAUSD bus.

LAUSD has removed yet another teacher this week, this time at Mount Gleason Middle School in Sunland. The teacher was removed from the classroom as police investigate allegations of "inappropriate conduct," according to school officials.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the school district sent students at Mt. Gleason Middle School home with a letter about the investigation and said it is working closely with the LAPD. The statement said that the school district was directed by police not to release further details.

"Crisis counselors and psychiatric social workers are available to work with students that might be impacted by the removal of the teacher," according to the statement, as reported by the Times. "The district takes each and every reported act of misconduct seriously. We are committed to aggressively pursuing each case to determine the truth and, if necessary, initiate the appropriate disciplinary measures."