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Morning Read: LA Unified board waits until mourning

LA School Report | December 18, 2013

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L.A. Unified board delays decision on replacing LaMotte
The Los Angeles Board of Education on Tuesday delayed a decision on how to fill the seat of former member Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte, who died earlier this month. Three members wanted to postpone the discussion until after LaMotte’s funeral, while three others supported taking up the issue immediately. But four votes were required for action, so the board never debated the central question: whether to appoint a replacement or call a special election. LA Times

LAUSD board shows why it’s better for voters to pick LaMotte’s successor
Commentary: Need more proof that South Los Angeles voters, not the L.A. Unified school board, should choose the replacement for the late board member Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte? Here’s your LAUSD board at work: This afternoon, the board opted to put off until Jan. 7 its decision on whether to appoint LaMotte’s successor or hold a special election in her district. LA Daily News

State schools chief Torlakson favors ‘strong accountability’ on funding
As Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration continues to mull adding restrictions on how schools spend billions in new money, the state’s top educator, Superintendent Tom Torlakson, said Tuesday the additional funding needs to increase services – not just maintain the status quo. SI&A Cabinet Report 

CA measure would replace seniority with performance for teacher layoffs
A ballot measure submitted by a political consultant for education advocate Michelle Rhee seeks to remove seniority as a factor when California school districts lay off teachers, requiring instead that decisions be based on performance and student test scores. Sacramento Bee 

Early education highlighted in Assembly Democrats’ budget priorities
Greatly expanding transitional kindergarten so that it is available to all 4-year-olds is listed among the top fiscal priorities of Assembly Democrats in the coming year. The proposal – part of a larger call to beef up funding for early education programs in the state – is listed as one of seven priorities identified in a “budget blueprint” for next year prepared by the California State Assembly Democratic Caucus. EdSource

Needing pencils, iPads or piccolos, teachers turn to crowdsourcing
When Patty Lee asked her kindergarten students in early October what letter had a “ba” sound, 23 little hands pressed colorful markers hard against the small dry eraser boards on their laps, connecting lines to semicircles.  The Hechinger Report

Why other countries teach better
Editorial: Millions of laid-off American factory workers were the first to realize that they were competing against job seekers around the globe with comparable skills but far smaller paychecks. But a similar fate also awaits workers who aspire to high-skilled, high-paying jobs in engineering and technical fields unless this country learns to prepare them to compete for the challenging work that the new global economy requires. New York Times

Rose Gilbert dies at 95; revered Palisades High English teacher
To see teacher Rose Gilbert — a nonstop, 5-foot dynamo — in front of a high school classroom was to see a master at work. “I’m on fire,” she would tell her 12th-graders in Room 204 at Palisades Charter High School, emphasizing the point by wearing a red plastic firefighter’s helmet. LA Times

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