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

Redistricting commission votes on new LA Unified school board boundaries

LAUSD redistricting commission

Tami Abdollah / KPCC

The LAUSD Redistricting Commission met Feb. 23 to vote on a map to send on to the City Council for new school board district lines.

LAUSD redistricting commission

Tami Abdollah / KPCC

The LAUSD Redistricting Commission met Feb. 23, 2012 to vote on a map to send on to the City Council for new school board district lines. School board member Marguerite LaMotte can be seen wearing pink in the front row.

After five hours of heated discussion Thursday night that included accusations of political pandering, gerrymandering, and a lack of public outreach, the L.A. Unified Redistricting Commission overwhelmingly agreed on a map of new school board boundaries to send over to the City Council.

The map named "Cv1" (plus minor adjustments) was approved by a 14-1 commission vote. Commissioner Mark Lewis voted against the map because he said it would break up multiple communities within District 5.

Commissioners have spoken out against the redistricting process with several saying Thursday that it was rushed and did not do enough to involve and inform the public. In meetings held over the last weeks for public input, a total of about 1,000 people showed up, said the commission's executive director Doug Wance. LAUSD is the nation's second-largest district and serves nearly 700,000 students.


Gov. Jerry Brown meets with White House officials for waivers on education, health care

Kitty Felde/KPCC

Gov. Jerry Brown stands away from other Democratic governors at the White House.

Gov. Jerry Brown and his fellow Democratic governors from around the country met this morning with President Barack Obama. The governor says he wants less government regulation from the feds.

Brown wants more flexibility on two of the biggest money issues for California: health care for the poor and education. He says, "We need some waivers from the federal government to make my job more efficient and effective in California."

Brown met with Education Secretary Arne Duncan to talk about relief from some of the requirements of the 2002 No Child Left Behind law. The federal government has granted a waiver to 10 states, but California didn’t apply, concerned it couldn’t afford the more than $2 billion required to make enough reforms to earn the waiver.

Under No Child, failing schools could face mass transfers of students, conversion to charters or a state takeover. Brown says he’s “optimistic” he can work out a compromise with Washington on both No Child Left Behind and Medi-Cal requirements.


'Who in the hell has drawn these maps?' asks school redistricting commissioner


Tami Abdollah / KPCC

Members of the public at a Redistricting Commission meeting Tuesday night at Hamilton High School looking at proposed maps.

Tami Abdollah/KPCC

A member of the public expresses concern over redistricting maps.


Tami Abdollah / KPCC

Members of the public at a Redistricting Commissio meeting Tuesday night at Hamilton High School looking at proposed maps.

While Los Angeles has remained fixated by an onslaught of teacher scandals, a quieter process to redistrict the school board's boundaries has gone on with little media coverage and a relatively small amount of public input.

Tonight the city's Redistricting Commission will vote on a final map or maps to present to the L.A. City Council by March 1. Ostensibly these are maps the 15 commissioners have prepared after months of work and reflection including hosting multiple meetings with the public for their thoughts. 

But according to Dermot Givens, who was appointed by board member Margueritte LaMotte, that's not exactly what has happened.

As a quick bit of background, the L.A. City Council must redraw the lines for the LAUSD's seven Board of Education districts at least once every 10 years to account for population shifts. The Redistricting Commission advises the council on drawing the district lines, and the commissioners must take public input and adhere to certain policies in drawing lines, such as honoring communities with similar interests, neighborhoods, and even population distribution. Their redistricting proposal must be presented to the City Council by March 1. After that, the city has until July 1 to decide on a final map.


LA Unified combs through emails, employee relations office files, logs and databases

Grant Slater/KPCC

Parents of students at Miramonte Elementary School escort they children out of school on February 6, 2012.

LAUSD spokesman Thomas Waldman provided more details today on the internal investigation into the district's reporting of teachers accused of misconduct to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

Superintendent John Deasy said Wednesday the district would be refiling all reports of teacher misconduct over the last three academic years to ensure no cases slipped through the crack as has been recently reported in two instances by the media.

According to Waldman, district officials will be going through the email records of past L.A. Unified mandated reports that were sent to the commission. They will also look at any email records retrieved by the IT department from district servers and backup records. Officials will look through employee relations office files, logs and databases; data from the Los Angeles County Office of Education; and any correspondences or reports that have come in from the commission or that may have been misplaced, Waldman said. 


UC Davis students sue over Occupy protest pepper spraying by campus police

Occupy Pepper Spray

Wayne Tilcock / AP

File: In this Nov. 18, 2011 file photo, University of California, Davis Police Lt. John Pike uses pepper spray to move Occupy UC Davis protesters while blocking their exit from the school's quad in Davis, Calif.

Students pepper-sprayed while sitting peacefully during a University of California, Davis protest last fall sued school officials Wednesday. They claim that campus police officers weren't trained on how to handle demonstrations properly.

Nineteen students and alumni represented by the American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit against UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi and other campus administrators in U.S. District Court in Sacramento.

"This was a shocking and blatantly illegal use of force on peaceful student protestors," said ACLU attorney Linda Lye. "The students [...] have come together to file this lawsuit to get to the bottom of why the university reacted in this totally inappropriate way."

The legal action is the latest fallout from the Nov. 18 incident, when campus police doused pepper-spray on sitting protesters who had set up an Occupy camp and ignored orders to disperse. Widely viewed online videos of the incident generated national outrage and calls for the chancellor's resignation.