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How many students at LAUSD, exactly?, ‘Crying kid’ goes viral

LA School Report | August 20, 2015

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school report buzz LAUSDMajor news outlets in the Los Angeles area did a “Los Angeles Unified heads back to school” story this week. But there was no unanimity among them on the number of students the district serves.

Three local television stations — NBC, ABC and CBS — all pegged the number at roughly 550,000, likely ignoring students enrolled at district charter schools. The Los Angeles Times said 650,000, as did City News Service. KPCC said the district has “over 600,00 students.”

So just how many students are there, anyway?

The district’s annual “fingertip facts,” which reflects the most recent data available, put the K-12 enrollment at 643,483, a number determined from the 2014-2015 school year, broken down to 101,060 at charters and 542,433 at traditional schools.

The number for this year will be set on “norm day,” usually the fifth Friday of the school year, which would make it Sept. 18. The number of students enrolled on that day represents the enrollment for the year, and if the district’s recent predictions are accurate, it will be 3 percent fewer than last year.

Everybody got that?

Crying kid goes viral 

The “crying kid” story made the rounds yesterday, including into our Morning Read. It focused on an LAUSD preschooler named Andrew, being interviewed by a reporter before he broke down and cried. It was viewed 7.6 million times through yesterday, making him a bona fide viral sensation.

When asked by a reporter if he would miss his mom on his first day of school, Andrew bravely answered “No.” But it didn’t last. Within moments, the look on his face revealed that yes, he will be missing his mom very much. The tears flowed.

View the video below.

New online tool has searchable data by school

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced earlier this week that his office had created a new online tool that makes searching for vital information school by school easy and user friendly. 

The California Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) State Priorities Snapshot includes three years of data on schools on three topics: student achievement, student engagement and school climate.

By typing in the name of a school, you are led to a list of vital information such as demographics, graduation and dropout rates, the number of suspensions and expulsions, Advanced Placement exam results, the number of English learners and more.

School district goes organic

LA Unified has taken big strides over the last few years to make improvements to the quality of food served in its cafeterias, but another California district is turning heads for raising the bar.

The Sausalito Marin City School District this year will become the first district in the nation to serve 100 percent organic and non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) food.

“Most people don’t realize that GMOs are everywhere, especially in processed foods,” says Justin Everett, a consulting chef for The Concious Kitchen, which partnered with the district on the food program. “By embracing fresh, local, organic, non-GMO food, this program successfully disrupts the cycle of unhealthy, pre-packaged, heat and serve meals that dominate school kitchens.”

Study finds disturbing conclusions about teacher/student race relations

A recent study by researchers at American University and Johns Hopkins University reached disturbing conclusions about how non-black teachers view their black students. One of the authors wrote about the study recently on the Brookings Institute’s blog:

We find evidence of systematic biases in teachers’ expectations for the educational attainment of black students. Specifically, non-black teachers have significantly lower educational expectations for black students than black teachers do when evaluating the same students. We cannot determine whether the black teachers are too optimistic, the non-black teachers are too pessimistic, or some combination of the two.

The study also said:

These results are not meant to, nor should they, demonize or implicate teachers. Biases in expectations are generally unintentional and are an artifact of how humans categorize complex information. Rather, we hope to start a dialogue between educators, policymakers, parents, researchers, and other stakeholders about the possible causes and consequences of systematic biases in teachers’ expectations for student achievement and attainment.

The study is especially revealing for LA Unified in light of a recent Los Angeles Times analysis that found a great mismatch in diversity between the study body and its teachers.


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