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A busy day ahead for LAUSD board — test scores, early ed, textbooks

Mike Szymanski | October 5, 2015

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textbooksTwo committee meetings and a board meeting on the sufficiency of school textbooks will keep the LA Unified school board members busy tomorrow as they discuss the adequacy of textbooks, a detailed analysis of the recent state test scores and district plans to expand early education classes.

Two of the new school board members will chair their first committee meetings of the new school year.

The Curriculum, Instruction and Educational Equity Committee meets at 10 a.m. and will be run by new chairman Scott Schmerelson. The members will get a report from Cynthia Lim, executive director of the Office of Data and Accountability, analyzing the Smarter Balanced Assessment Scores. Lim’s report explains how the new test scores cannot fairly be compared to past scores and how LAUSD students in both charter and traditional schools fell below the state averages in meeting standards. However, in both math and English tests magnet schools at LAUSD scored better than the state average in all grades.

The Curriculum Committee also will receive a report about the district’s College and Career Readiness Plan presented by Linda Del Cueto, the chief of Professional Learning and Leadership Development.

At 2 p.m., new school board member Ref Rodriguez is scheduled to lead the Early Childhood Education and Parent Engagement Committee. Dean Tagawa, the administrator of LAUSD’s Early Childhood Education Division, is on the agenda to review the expansion of Traditional Kindergarten in the district.

Then, Jamila Loud of The Advancement Project will discuss “Access Gaps to High Quality Early Care and Education in LAUSD.”

At the 4 p.m. board meeting, the board will hear concerns about textbooks, as required by law: By the eighth week of school, school boards must ensure that all students have textbooks aligned with state standards in academic classes.

The district superintendent’s office said the district spent $67 million to get Common Core textbooks last year, and another $120.8 million is set for this year and next year. The district has asked every teacher and principal to certify that enough textbooks are available, and each Local District superintendent has to resolve any issues.

To offset some of the discussion that may arise from parents, deputy superintendent Ruth Pérez issued a memo dated Sept. 9 explaining that regulations do not include courses for art, computer programming or agriculture, just core and required subjects. Also, it does not require a set of textbooks to be kept in the classroom if ones are individually assigned to each student.

All three meetings are open to the public, a 333 South Beaudry Ave. The district is also providing live video and audio streaming.

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