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Morning Read: CA ‘Attendance Crisis’ Jeopardizing Futures

LA School Report | September 30, 2013

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California truancy is at ‘crisis’ level, says attorney general
One out of every four California elementary school students — nearly 1 million total — are truant each year, an “attendance crisis” that is jeopardizing their academic futures and depriving schools of needed dollars, the state attorney general said in a report to be released Monday. In her first annual study of elementary student truancy, Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris said school districts lost $1.4 billion in 2010-11 in state education dollars, which are distributed based on student attendance. LA Times

How California should deal with truancy
Op-Ed: Millions of desks sit empty in elementary school classrooms because of truancy each year, costing schools billions of dollars, wasting public resources and squandering one of the country’s most precious resources: its young people. We tend to think of truancy as something that starts in junior high or high school, but nationwide, about 1 in 10 kindergarten and first-grade students miss a month of school each year due to absences. In California, you could fill Staples Center 13 times over with the 250,000 students who missed 18 days or more last year. LA Times

LAUSD’s Adult Ed Committee takes its show on the road
Los Angeles Unified will take its show on the road today, when the school board’s Adult Education Committee holds its first meeting — not at district headquarters, but at its West Valley Occupational Center in Woodland Hills. The 11 a.m. meeting will be aired on KCLS, the district’s public broadcasting station, its first-ever attempt to broadcast live from a remote location. “This lets us take the board to the community rather than the community having to come to the board,” said Alan Popkin, the district’s director of TV engineering.  LA Daily News

Free lunch sign ups crucial for accurate count of low-income students
With millions of dollars available under the new finance formula for schools with large numbers of low-income students, districts are pulling out all the stops to make sure they get an accurate count of their high-needs students. Because the new system defines “low income” as students who are eligible for the federal free- and reduced-price meals program, some districts are offering free Raiders tickets, ice cream parties, tickets to the county fair and other perks to encourage families to sign up for the National School Lunch Program. EdSource

Arne Duncan: Why I am optimistic about education in America
Op-Ed: Earlier this month, my colleagues and I wrapped up a five-day, 1,100-mile back-to-school bus tour of the Southwest. It was exciting, occasionally exhausting, and often exhilarating. But most of all, it was enlightening. From New Mexico to Texas, from Arizona to California, we saw firsthand how courageous educators, committed parents, and caring communities can work together to tackle tough educational challenges. Christian Science Monitor

‘1:X Computing’ aims to tailor digital tools to learning tasks
In Cindy Nguyen’s first-period psychology class at Lewisville High School in north-central Texas, digital devices are everywhere: During a recent lesson, 28 students were using 17 school-issued iPads, two student-owned tablets, seven smartphones, and one of the classroom’s five MacBook Air laptops. It’s the new face of learning in the rapidly changing Lewisville Independent School District, which is in the process of giving all 53,000 of its students access to “the right device at the right time,” part of a so-called “1:X” initiative that began last spring. District officials are currently seeking to trademark the “1:X” name, which is also referred to as “1-to-many.” EdWeek

Dearth of librarians poses new challenge to Common Core transition
Districts that slashed jobs for teacher librarians in recent years may soon regret that decision – especially as schools in California transition to the Common Core standards, which put new emphasis on students developing good research skills. “We have many schools, districts, and some counties in California that have no teacher librarians at a time in education history when our kids, our state, and our county desperately need them,” said Glen Warren, a certified teacher librarian from Orange Unified. “Their expertise is crucial to the transformative implementation of both 21st Century Skills and Common Core State Standards.” SI&A Cabinet Report

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