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

California official says law setting federal education standards is 'null and defunct'

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One of California’s top education officials said the federal No Child Left Behind law is no longer credible or legitimate because too many states have been given a waiver.

“They have already disowned the program in terms of the U.S. Department of Education by the secretary already declaring it null and defunct in effect in 33 states," said Michael Kirst, President of California’s State Board of Education. "I don’t see that it has any credibility or legitimacy left.”

His board sets policy for the most public school chidren of any state in the nation.

President George W. Bush signed the law in 2001, setting 2014 as the year that every student, including those whose first language isn’t English, will be proficient in English and math.
“It’s turned out to be illusory and not attainable by any state,” Krist said. 

The Obama administration has been exempting states from the 100 percent proficiency goal and other key provisions — but only if they meet a list of reforms.


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Organization wants to recognize preschool teachers' hard work

Children's Center teacher Karina Diaz reads a book to preschoolers.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

With preschools around the Southland closed for the holidays, most little children are home running rings their parents. And no doubt those parents are appreciating the work their preschool teachers do every day.

William Yu, an Economist with the Anderson Forecast, said they do it all for among the lowest pay scale of any occupation.

"We should think about it: -should we pay $72,000 for prison guard and at the same time we only pay $32,000 on a preschool teacher?" he asked. "I think we should ask ourselves, 'is this a wise resource allocation?'”

 And it’s not just poor pay that preschool teachers put up with.

"A lot of the preschool teachers don’t get the recognition," said Claudia Sarmiento of nonprofit group, LA Universal Preschools.

To make up for that, her group, known as LAUP decided six years ago to recognize preschool teachers for their critical work and created the Annual Preschool Teacher of the Year award. The nomination deadline has just been extended to January 6 -- so parents still have time to nominate a great preschool teacher.

"Let's recognize the great work that these preschool teachers are doing," she said. "It will inspire them to continue doing the great things for the children that they serve."

The award winner, who will be announced in April, will win $2,000.


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Southland school district officials reviewing security, reassuring parents

Costa Mesa elementary school principal led two meetings Monday morning for parents and teachers. The topic: school security.
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez

Conversations across Southern California campuses Monday mostly centered on one thing: security. 

Stephen Allen and his wife spent the weekend  assessing whether someone could sneak onto California Elementary School in Costa Mesa, where his son is in the second grade.

"We kind of went through, me and my wife, through what they do here. It seems like it shouldn't be able to happen here, but you never know," he said.

The school's principal, Matt Broesamle, said the Allens have nothing to worry about.

"During the day this gate right here remains locked, the front gate right there where kids are walking through is locked, the only way to access the campus is through the front office right there," Broesamle said, pointing.

The principal led two meetings Monday morning. He addressed about 40 parents, explaining the gate system and emergency plans. And then he met with teachers to remind them of safety policies and proceedures -- and to mentor them on how to talk to students about the shooting.


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After Connecticut shooting, southland school districts evaluate security policies

Southern Californians hold a vigil on December 15 at Glenoaks Park in Glendale for the victims of a mass shooting at an Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Grant Slater/KPCC
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On the first school day after the deadly elementary school shooting in Connecticut, Southern California educators are reviewing their own security policies.

“We do have closed campuses in all of our schools. That means that visitors, parents, staff even, can only come in one way,” said Mary Siu, superintendent of the Cerritos-area ABC Unified School District. "There are not multiple entrances to a school."

Siu is ahead of the game. As the seriousness of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut was unfolding on Friday, she emailed school district staff informing them about the shootings. She also emailed parents to reassure them that the district has lockdown procedures and that entrance to each campuses is limited to a single entrance. She also beefed up patrols.

“We serve five major cities and three of them had already talked with me about making sure that on Friday at least and throughout this week, that we would have law enforcement circulating all of our schools to have a sense that there are extra precautions taken,” Siu said.


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University of California expels its flunking new logo

The image on the left is the old University of California logo. The one on the right is the now-rejected logo.
University of California

From the onset public opinion was critical of the new, modern logo proposed by the University of California.

Friday the university cut its losses with the UCsimplistic logo to the relief of many students, staff and alums.

"While I believe the design element in question would win wide acceptance over time, it also is important that we listen to and respect what has been a significant negative response by students, alumni and other members of our community," Daniel M. Dooley, UC's senior vice president for external relations, said in a statement.

While some attempted to defend the minimalistic design, most seemed to agree with the sentiments of Jacqueline Hamilton who wrote this on a previous KPCC story about the logo:

"Oh, my, as a UCLA alum I have to say that this looks juvenile, not representing the venerable reputation that UCLA has been building for decades. Forward-looking is one thing. Completely opaque and unrepresentative is another."


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