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

Battle brewing over online community college classes and local control

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

The main quad at Saddleback College in south Orange County.

A proposal to make it easier for students to take online community college classes offered by any California campus is running into opposition from local faculty.

As students seek classes to accommodate busy schedules and campuses look to expand without constructing new buildings, virtual courses have been multiplying in the state’s massive community college system. 

The latest idea from Sacramento would create one portal for community college online classes and establish phone and online support for students, regardless of which campus offers the courses.

“The goal is to create one online education ecosystem that is used for the entire state, fully supported, faculty-run and driven,” said California Community College Vice Chancellor Patrick Perry.

Dean Murakami, president of the community college faculty association, doesn’t think it’s a good idea.

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Child care hard to find in parts of Los Angeles

Childcare deserts

Deepa Fernandes / KPCC

Cynthia Lopez reads to her 3-year-old, Arianni, in her Huntington Park home. She drives her daughter 12 miles to Silver Lake for preschool.

Cynthia Lopez grew up in Huntington Park. Other than a brief sojourn to U.C. Santa Cruz for college, she has lived in Southeast Los Angeles near her family for most of her life.

Her mother cares full time for her toddler, Arianni, while Lopez is at work, passing on traditions and culture from her native Guatemala to the youngest member of the family.

But as Arianni neared 3, Lopez began to notice her toddler was getting bored with her abuela, her grandmother. Arianni needed to be around other children, Lopez decided.

“I went to preschool and I have the memories of how great it was,” Lopez said. “I want her to have the same experiences.”

Yet finding preschool in Huntington Park is not easy, she said.

“In this area, nobody puts their information online,” she said.  “You have to ask neighbors, friends. You have to drive around and see what you find.”

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LA schools iPads: Superintendent Deasy explains Pearson, Apple meetings

Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy

Krista Kennell/AFP/Getty Images

Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy speaks during a press conference at South Region High School #2 in Los Angeles, California February 6, 2012.

More than a week after new questions arose regarding the bidding process for the 1:1 technology program, Los Angeles Unified Superintendent John Deasy sent a six-page memo to the school board Tuesday defending his actions and stating that neither he nor his staff violated any rules.

"I am often times asked to meet with current or potential vendors by Board Members – all appropriate in my responsibility to become aware of the best products and services for LAUSD," Deasy wrote.

On Aug. 22, KPCC published internal emails showing discussions between Deasy, other top school district staffers and executives at Pearson and Apple began nearly a year before the companies won the contract to equip every student with a tablet loaded with educational software. He canceled the contract last week and said he will put the project out for bid again.

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Far-reaching Vergara decision headed for appeals court

Vergara v California trial

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

In this file photo, Julia Macias, one of nine plaintiffs in the Vergara v. California trial, welcomes a judge's ruling in June striking down teacher job protections.

Officials are challenging the Vergara v. California ruling that struck down key job protections for state public school teachers.

“Changes of this magnitude, as a matter of law and policy, require appellate review,” wrote State Attorney General Kamala Harris and two deputy attorney generals in the appeal filed on Friday in L.A. County Superior Court.

The June ruling struck down California laws that give public school teachers wide job security after two years, carry out layoffs based on teacher seniority not effectiveness, and grant teachers more job protections than other public sector employees. Lawyers for nine public school student-plaintiffs argued in court that the laws allowed grossly ineffective teachers to keep their jobs and deprived some students of their constitutional right to an adequate education.

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LA schools' woes with enrollment system continue

student classroom teacher

Photo by Tom Woodward via Flickr Creative Commons

The Los Angeles Unified School District has struggled to keep accurate tabs on students during the new school year — glitches in a new student information system have forced some counselors to handwrite student enrollment information.

Los Angeles Unified officials vastly underestimated the number of students facing problems from the district's new digital enrollment system, new numbers from the principals and administrators union suggest.

In an online newsletter for the week of Sept. 1, the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles reported at least 45,000 students are unaccounted for under the new system known as MiSiS. The district's communications office had previously said fewer than 1 percent — roughly 6,500 students or fewer — were affected.

Here's an excerpt from the newsletter:

We cannot begin to tell you the countless numbers of calls that have come into AALA about this catastrophe. Both elementary and secondary schools have had a particularly stressful opening this year. Basic student information is being incorrectly reflected in the system, with wrong birth dates and juxtaposed middle and last names. Enrollment counts are nowhere near accurate. 

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