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Morning Read: Big Drop in Teacher Education Enrollment

LA School Report | September 24, 2013

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Enrollment in teacher preparation programs plummets
Enrollments in teacher preparation programs in California are continuing to decline at a precipitous rate, according to new figures prepared for the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. A report for the commission indicates that 26,446 students were enrolled in teacher preparation programs in 2011-12 – a 24 percent reduction from the previous year’s total of 34,838 students. That was by far the biggest decline recorded over the past decade. EdSource

‘Priority schools’ plan is latest to remake failing L.A. Unified schools
For decades, veteran educators have seen turnaround teams come and go from the campus, next-door to the Jordan Downs housing project in Watts. As the Los Angeles Unified School District starts a new school year with a new contract with the federal government to fix persistently failing schools, 27 of its most poorly performing schools, including Jordan, got a new title: Priority Schools. KPCC

 Schools lose academic ratings after claims of cheating
Campuses in five Los Angeles County school systems were stripped of their scores on the state’s Academic Performance Index over claims of cheating, other misconduct or mistakes that affected the handling of standardized tests. In all, 27 California schools this year lost their academic rating, an increase from 23 last year. Losing ratings is damaging because a school needs them to meet performance targets.  LA Times

Critics fear unions could gain power in ballot process under new bill
Advocates trying to place initiatives on California’s ballot may face new requirements under a bill approved by the Legislature this month. The measure, AB 857 by Assemblyman Paul Fong (D-Cupertino), would require 10% of petition signatures to be gathered by volunteers instead of paid workers. However, critics say the bill would unfairly empower unions – their members would be counted as volunteers even if they’re on labor’s payroll. LA Times

 Last-minute scrums in California Legislature need to stop
Editorial: The California Legislature got some big things done this year. It passed a balanced budget on time, overhauled a dysfunctional school finance system and finally developed a plan to relieve prison overcrowding. But the way lawmakers get things done in Sacramento is as ugly as ever — especially in the final few weeks of the session, when they vote on hundreds of bills, often with last-minute changes. San Jose Mercury News

 Evidence shows alternative discipline more effective in keeping kids in school
Even with the deterrence posed by more than 5,000 campus police personnel, the New York public school system averages five student arrests every day – a cycle that steals thousands of hours of class time from a largely at-risk population and boosts their odds of dropping out and ending up in the social welfare or justice systems. A better approach, researchers from the Alliance for Excellent Education suggest, might be to apply those resources to alternative disciplinary practices that emphasize a more positive school climate. SI&A Cabinet Report

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