Repairs Not iPads/Facebook
A photo posted on a Facebook group called "repairs not iPads."
A Los Angeles Unified school board committee on Thursday found a backlog of 50,000 neglected repairs at campuses - a number that is only expected to grow. School district officials said the budget for repairs has been slashed by more than 65% since 2008.
Monica Ratliff, who joined the school board last year, said the public deserves to know why repairs are piling up.
“I believe it is a question people do want an answer to," Ratliff said. "I haven’t been here long enough to be able to answer that question, but if someone at some point could, I think that would be valuable.”
The text of the five bond measures passed by Los Angeles voters since 1999 totaling $20 billion all said the funds would go to, among other things, fix crumbling campuses.
"Measure K will permit local schools to repair leaky roofs, unsanitary bathrooms, and electrical wiring," read the arguments for the measure, according to information compiled by the League of Women Voters. "Everyone knows it is cheaper to upgrade and repair schools now, before problems get worse."
The Los Angeles Unified school board decided unanimously to tap former administrator Sylvia Rousseau to temporarily represent the south-central district until a special election can be held in June to replace late board member Margueritte LaMotte. But the way the board reached that decision - discussing its options in a closed-door meeting - is drawing fire.
"This is a classically political decision that needs to be made in public if it's made at all," said Peter Scheer, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition.
The school district argues that the 5-0 decision Tuesday to pull-in Rousseau was a personnel matter, thus exempt from the California Brown Act's public meeting requirements. (Board member Monica Garcia was absent.)
But Scheer said that doesn't hold water.
"They can call it what they want but they are appointing someone to fill-in for an absent board member," Scheer said.
In this data-driven age, a new report questions why states don't compare various pieces of information - like teacher training and Kindergarten success - to find out what's working in early childhood education.
The Early Childhood Data Collaborative, which includes U.C. Berkeley, National Conference of State Legislatures and non-profit groups like Child Trends, said most states cannot provide an overall snapshot answer because “data on young children are housed in multiple, uncoordinated systems, managed by different state and federal agencies.”
“State leaders will have a difficult time understanding [and] answering questions about how many children are being served in high-quality early learning programs and whether they enter school ready" unless they connect those dots said Carlise King, Executive Director of the Early Childhood Data Collaborative.
Photo courtesy CSU Dominguez Hills
A look at each freshman class each year at the California State University system in the last decade reveals a paradox in academic achievement: all the students have met CSU's class and grade requirements to gain acceptance yet every year a significant portion test unable to do college level math and English work.
It's called remediation and it exists - to varying degrees - at all 23 Cal State campuses. It's now caught the attention of more Sacramento officials.
What's behind California's high remediation rates?
According to the most recent numbers, one in three freshmen entering the California State University system in fall of 2012 failed the math test that measures whether they're ready for college work. About the same proportion failed the English test.
To help them catch up, Cal State spends about $30 million every year on remediation courses.
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
In this file photo, Omarosa Manigault speaks onstage at the "All Star Celebrity Apprentice" breakfast session of the 2013 Winter TCA Tour - Day 3 at the Langham Hotel in January 2013 in Pasadena, Calif. Manigault has filed papers with the L.A. City Clerk's office to run for the open school board seat left by the late Marguerite LaMotte.
A 10th candidate has joined the race for an open seat on the Los Angeles Unified school board: Omarosa Manigault, best known for her role as a contestant on the first season of Donald Trump's "The Apprentice."
In her filing with the Los Angeles City Clerk, Manigault describes herself as a teacher and children's advocate.
Manigault said she has a special education substitute teacher credential and has been called twice by L.A. Unified to teach but her schedule hasn’t allowed her to work in the classroom.
“I am running because I am passionate about making sure that every student has a high quality public education,” Manigault told KPCC> “I believe that education is a civil right. I've taught for Howard University, I'm currently an executive education professor there, I am the director of education and curriculum for the LA Clippers Youth camp, have been an arduous ambassador for St Jude's Children's Hospital.”