Pass / Fail | So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

National group says teacher training programs in California, nationwide are deficient

A fifth grade classroom at San Pedro Street Elementary.
Rebecca Hill/KPCC

A study out Tuesday by the National Council on Teacher Quality concluded that many teacher education programs in California and nationwide are mediocre and not worth attending.

The NCTQ examined more than a thousand programs for the study. The group’s president, Kate Walsh, says schools should be more selective of who they admit. Once in, Walsh said, training of future teachers is inadequate.

“Seventy percent of the institutions, of the programs in our sample, do not require their elementary (school) teacher to ever take a single science course,” she said.

Walsh said teacher education at UCLA and Loyola Marymount University falls under the mediocre category, a claim leaders at those institutions disagree with.

David Rattray of the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce says the teacher training study is flawed. His group’s working with 11 Southland teacher training programs.


Add your comments

Nearly half of Crenshaw High's teachers won't return this fall

Teachers, parents, supporters and students picketed outside Crenshaw High School to protest teacher layoffs in May, 2009.

Students at Crenshaw High School will have a lot of new teachers when they return to school in the fall. That’s because roughly half of the school’s teachers were not rehired as part of a campus reorganization ordered by Superintendent John Deasy.

The reorganization closed the chronically low-performing school and transformed into three magnets: Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA); Business Entrepreneurship Technology (BET); and Science, Technology, Engineering, Math & Medicine (STEMM) academies.

A magnet program for gifted students that was already at the school was also closed. Its students will be folded into the new magnets. 

“These three were selected by the community as a way of enticing those students that live in the Crenshaw attendance area to come to Crenshaw and not get on a bus and go off to another non-Crenshaw school,” said George Bartleson, director of Intensive Support and Intervention at LAUSD.


Add your comments

LA Unified school board member wants changes to California's Parent Trigger law

A Los Angeles Unified school board meeting in Oct. 2012.
Tami Abdollah/KPCC

California’s Parent Trigger law has been used five times to try and overhaul low-performing schools. Three of those were in the L.A. Unified School District. School board member Steve Zimmer has proposed a resolution up for a vote at Tuesday’s meeting calling for new restrictions. (Check back later today for updates on the  board's actions.)

Under the Parent Trigger law, when a majority of parents sign a petition, those parents get to decide how to restructure a school where test scores fall far below the state average.

Reforms can include removing the principal, asking a charter school company to run it, or other changes.

Board member Steve Zimmer believes the process is flawed.

“I’m concerned that everyone has access to accurate information. I’m concerned that everybody gets to participate in the process," Zimmer said. "I’m concerned that we’re focusing on the schools that objectively need this type of transformation the most.”


Add your comments

LAUSD and other districts seek group waiver from No Child Left Behind

Los Angeles Unified is part of a coalition seeking an waiver from No Child Left Behind
Photo by superterrific/dana byerly via Flickr Creative Commons

Los Angeles Unified School District and eight other school districts in California are seeking an exemption from tough provisions in the No Child Left Behind law requiring 100 percent of their students to be proficient in math and English by 2014 or face sanctions, including school closure.

The coalition of districts, dubbed the California Office to Reform Education, submitted an application to the U.S. Department of Education in February and an updated version in May. The group — consisting of Clovis, Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco, Sanger and Santa Ana Unified School Districts —is now working to answer remaining questions from the government regarding its proposal. The application by CORE represents the first time that school districts have joined to submit a unified proposal. 


Add your comments

Report: Arts education has many benefits, but links to improved academics are limited

Tenth grader Emmet Webster and twelfth grader Aidan Faith play double bass at Renaissance Arts Academy in Eagle Rock. Music education has been linked to improving student IQ scores.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

A comprehensive new report out Monday outlines the benefits and limits of arts education by digging into the data and outlining what research has been established in the field.

Among the findings: Learning music can boost students' IQ scores and visual arts likely help students' understanding of geometrical reasoning. But the report also notes that there's no evidence theater and dance help with overall academic skills.

The report, called "Art for Art's Sake: The Impact of Arts Education," is from the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation based in Paris at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The authors reviewed research databases in a variety of languages including Dutch, English, German, Italian, French and Korean.

Here are a few of the findings from the executive summary:


Add your comments