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‘Lowride’ with George Lopez for LAUSD, ‘Parent Trigger’ in O.C.

Craig Clough | January 15, 2015

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school report buzzComedian and actor George Lopez has started a campaign on to raise money for the Los Angeles Fund for Public Education, a charity that contributes to LA Unified.

Anyone interested can enter a contest to go “lowriding” with Lopez around Los Angeles in a vintage lowrider, join him for a meal at one of his favorite LA restaurants and be put up in a four-star hotel for two nights. The contest works like a charity raffle with the winner randomly selected. The cost to enter spans from $10 to $10,000, and the more one spends the higher the chances to win are. 

Lopez graduated from San Fernando High School in 1979 and has previously donated funds and participated in charities for San Fernando and LAUSD schools. In 2011, the auditorium at San Fernando Elementary, where Lopez said he first performed at the age of 6, was named after him.

Robotics students gather for film screening

About 900 students on robotics teams from 11 LA Unified schools are gathering at 4:30 p.m. today at the Cesar Chavez Auditorium at San Fernando High School for a screening of the film “Spare Parts,” according to a district press release.

The film is based on a true story about a team of robotics students from Phoenix who were undocumented immigrants and beat MIT students in a robotics competition. Co-starring in the film as the students’ teacher is … George Lopez.

Actors Carolos Penavega and Alexa Penavega from the film are expected to be in attendance, according to a district spokesperson.

‘Parent Trigger’ pulled in Orange County

Parents at Palm Lane Elementary School in Anaheim have filed petitions to overhaul their school through the state Parent Empowerment Act of 2010. It is the first school in Orange County to use the so-called “parent trigger” law, according to the California Center for Parent Empowerment.

A press release from the Center said the school “has been identified by the California Department of Education as an underperforming school since 2003, posting an anemic 746 Academic Performance Index, dropping 33 API points in the last three years. Student testing results indicate that 60 percent of 5th graders are below basic levels of proficiency in mathematics, while 63 percent are below basic levels of proficiency in English Language Arts.” 

Expulsions, suspensions fall in California and LAUSD

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson yesterday announced a 15.2 drop in the number of students suspended and a 20 percent drop in the number of students expelled in 2013-14. It is the second year in a row the two statistics have declined, according to a press release from Torlakson’s office.

In LAUSD, suspensions fell 25.5 percent, according the Los Angeles Daily News, which also pointed out that African American students received 32.3 percent of suspensions while only making up 9.2 percent of the entire student body, a suggestion that the district still has progress to make on the issue.

The statewide drop was attributed to a focus on “restorative justice,” which LA Unified has committed to enacting at every school by 2020.

“These numbers show that the work of the department, districts, teachers, parents, and students around the state is paying off by keeping more students in school and learning,” Torlakson said in a press release. “You can have the best facilities, the best teachers, and the best curriculum in the world, but none of that matters if students are not in school. That’s why we have put so much effort into increasing school attendance and reducing expulsions and suspensions and will continue to do so.”

Torlakson to celebrate reelection

After defeating challenger Marshall Tuck in November and being officially re-sworn into office on Jan. 5, Torlakson is holding a Southern California inauguration reception on Friday at the William Turner Gallery in Santa Monica.

New York magazine profiles ‘the most controversial woman in school reform’

New York magazine this week profiled Campbell Brown, the former TV journalist and CNN anchor who has become the face of the education reform movement on the East Coast. Brown is the founder of the Partnership for Educational Justice, a group that has filed a lawsuit in New York state similar to the Vergara v. California case that challenged teacher job protection laws.

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