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Federal officials investigating USC’s sexual assault policies

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USC students announced Monday that the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education is investigating their complaints that the university mishandled sexual assault allegations.

Student Ari Mostov  spoke to reporters on the edge of campus.

She recounted, at times in a trembling voice, a rape she said she suffered last year. Adding to that horrible experience, she said, was the reaction of university officials.

“USC was unwilling to make any accommodations for me by moving around the classes of either my rapist or me so that I could avoid having to confront this man on a daily basis,” she said.

She claims they got her testimony wrong and did nothing to ease her trauma.

USC issued a written statement that did not address any of the specific allegations. Officials said the university ramped up its reporting policies a year ago and will cooperate with the federal investigation. The school investigates allegations but also reports the crimes to LAPD.


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Students feel deep cuts to L.A. Unified summer school program

Students file into John H. Francis Polytechnic High School for the first day of summer school.
Jed Kim

SUMMER LEARNING: Education experts say idle summers can put kids behind when they go back to school in the fall. KPCC spoke to teachers, parents and kids across Southern California about what they're learning this summer — or not.

Enrique Ramirez doesn't pull any punches about why he needs to retake English in summer school. 

"I failed it," Ramirez said. "I guess I was lazy or something."

To get in, however, he'd have to be lucky. Ramirez, who'll be a high school junior next year, joined a crowd of students early on the first day of summer school, vying for one of the few open seats at John H. Francis Polytechnic High School

Years of budget cuts have whittled away seats for the summer program. Only about 5,000 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District will be able to make up for failed credits this summer — and that's not nearly enough.


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Child actors get schooled: What it's like to teach kids between takes

Studio teacher Linda Stone works with teen actor Leo Howard at his desk on set for the Disney XD show "Kickin' It."
Mary Plummer/KPCC

Ever wondered where your favorite child actors go to school? 

For children in the entertainment industry in California, school comes to them in the form of studio teachers.

Linda Stone has worked as one for 36 years. The native New Yorker discovered the field while working for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

It took seven years for her to get into the union — the easiest place to find work as a studio teacher. Stone says she's had steady work since joining the union 29 years ago. She's one of about 100 members in the state. 

"It's just been a fun career. I can't imagine ever retiring," said Stone, who's the business agent for The Studio Teachers Welfare Workers Local 884 union. "There's an enormous reward in seeing kids learn something and the excitement that they feel when they master a concept."


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FCC votes to bring high-speed Internet to classrooms

The FCC's upgrade of its E-Rate program will focus on increasing broadband capacity in classrooms.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously on Friday to modernize its federal E-Rate program, which provides funding for schools and libraries to connect to the Internet.

It's the first comprehensive overhaul of the program since it was established in 1997. E-Rate was created to give rebates to schools seeking to get connected to the Internet. The program's new goals will focus on increasing broadband capacity in classrooms, reducing costs and streamlining its administrative process.

Officials with the FCC said it's necessary to improve Internet access in order to make better use of online learning opportunities. 

"What we need to do is move this program from connectivity to increasing capacity and get schools the Internet — both to their doors and to their classrooms — that they need in order to take advantage of what's going on in digital learning," said Michael Steffen, director of digital learning at the FCC. 


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Libraries in LA, Fresno, and San Diego counties join summer lunch program

The LA Central Library.
Todd Johnson/KPCC

Summer free meal programs for kids have been around for decades. This year, for the first time, about a dozen libraries in L.A., Fresno, and San Diego counties have joined the effort.

L.A. Central Library in downtown L.A., the Pacoima branch of the L.A. Public Library, and Inglewood's library are part of a pilot program that nutrition advocates hope to expand next year.

The idea is to combine the learning that goes on in libraries with nutritious meals kids may not get during the summer. 

"To really help make sure that kids are healthy and fed and have access to activities and books to make sure that they're engaged during the summer," said Patrice Chamberlain, director of the California Summer Meal Coalition.

School districts, city governments, and other groups serve summer meals at more than a thousand locations in L.A., Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties.


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