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Morning Read: A Glimpse into California’s Universal Pre-K

LA School Report | June 13, 2013

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California’s New Transitional Kindergarten: A Glimpse into Universal Pre-K
The 23 children in Azizi’s Winnetka classroom were a combination of Kindergarten and Transitional Kindergarten students. Transitional Kindergarten (TK) is the new grade level that California created for children who just missed the age cutoff for kindergarten.The new grade, which started this year, is meant to get those kids ready for the rigors of Kindergarten by learning numbers and words. KPCC

Education Secretary Arne Duncan Works to Sell Obama Administration’s Preschool Initiative
In the second term of the Obama administration, Arne Duncan is traveling to more locations than most other Cabinet members, save the secretary of state. With his plaid suit bag and his dark briefcase, the peripatetic Duncan is promoting an idea he says will improve millions of lives and strengthen the country. Washington Post

Californians Rank 25th in College Degrees, Report Says
California is making only modest progress in increasing the numbers of adults who hold college degrees and will have to step up the pace to meet future workforce needs, according to a new report released Wednesday. LA Times

Vast Reforms Proposed for Teacher Credential Programs
When California placed a one-year limit on the length of teacher preparation programs back in 1970, there were no personal computers, tablets or smart phones; no online classes or Common Core standards; and not nearly as many English learners in public schools. EdSource

States Seek Flexibility During Common-Test Transition
With the debut of common assessments less than two years away, states and districts are worried about the accountability systems that hinge on those tests. A growing chorus of policy groups is urging more flexibility in how states evaluate teachers, label schools, and enforce other high-stakes consequences during what’s likely to be a messy transition. EdWeek

Senate Committee Approves Bill Updating Federal Education Law
On a party line vote, a Senate committee approved a bill Wednesday to update the country’s main federal education law by erasing some of its most punitive aspects.The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions voted 12 to 10 on the bill filed by chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), with Democrats defeating nearly every amendment Republicans offered. Washington Post

Goldman Sachs to Finance Early Education Program
Goldman Sachs is making its second foray into an experimental method of financing social services, lending up to $4.6 million for a childhood education program in Salt Lake City. New York Times

New Report Says a Stretched Out School Day Helps Arts Programs
Longer school days are a key component of improving arts education and academics in schools with low-income students, according to a new report. The report,  sponsored by the children’s philanthropy group The Wallace Foundation, outlines the expanded-day arts models used by five public schools around the U.S., including Technology Charter High School in San Francisco. KPCC

Large Urban School Districts Creating Their Own Virtual Schools
The Philadelphia school system will open a new, full-time online school this coming fall, a program that the district promises will offer the academic flexibility and customized learning that many students and families demand. EdWeek

Mar Vista Educator Honored by LAUSD
Ronald Theile, who teaches math, science and music at Mark Twain Middle School, is one of 21 LAUSD educators to receive the honor. A resident of Santa Monica, he has been a teacher for 16 years. Argonaut News

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