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Morning Read: LAUSD Seeks Revisions to Parent Trigger

LA School Report | September 16, 2013

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L.A. Unified seeks to end confusion and fights over parent trigger law
It was billed as a bold attempt to give parents the power to transform their failing schools. But more than two years after California legislators passed the parent-trigger law, it has sparked so much controversy that even the measure’s author supports revisions. LA Unified last week launched the first effort in the state to ease confusion and conflict over the 2010 law, which allows parents to oust staff, change curriculum, close a campus or convert the school to an independent public charter. LA Times

A showdown on Common Core testing
Editorial: When it comes to education policy, California and the Obama administration have gotten along about as well as the Clantons and the Earp brothers. They’ve clashed over teacher evaluations, Race to the Top grants, you name it. Now, the switch to the new Common Core curriculum could prove to be their O.K. Corral. The Legislature has passed a bill, AB 484, that would retire the state’s existing standards tests this school year and replace them with a limited version of the very different tests linked to the new curriculum, which emphasizes critical thinking over rote memorization. LA Times 

Deputy Supt. Aquino departs L.A. Unified with warning
Calling the Los Angeles Board of Education dysfunctional and warning that academic progress is at stake, a senior school district administrator confirmed Friday that he is resigning. His departure removes the top manager for academic initiatives during a period of rapid and seminal change, including a new curriculum, a new program for students learning English, a mandate that all students meet college-preparation requirements and a program to distribute tablet computers to every student. LA Times 


How to improve Los Angeles schools? Kids say more sports, better lunches
The future of the Los Angeles Unified School District is endlessly debated by politicians, parents, teachers and unions. This weekend, 160 high school student leaders got their chance to weigh in, at a daylong forum hosted by United Way. “We always talk about what we want to do on behalf of students,” said Ryan J. Smith, Director of Education Programs and Policy at United Way of Greater Los Angeles. “We never talk about what students really want.” KPCC

Education secretary tones down criticism of California
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan toned down his recent criticism of California in an interview with The Times, calling his previous threat to withhold federal funding from the state over a new plan to test students a “last resort.” “We want to be flexible, we want to be thoughtful,” Duncan said. “There are lots of different things happening across the country. I don’t want to be too hard and fast on any one of these things because I have not gone through every detail, every permutation.” LA Times

 Bay Area schools scale back suspensions
Goodbye, suspension. Hello, detention. Pressed by law enforcement, civil-rights advocates and the realization that the way they disciplined students was failing, schools are keeping on campus more kids who talk back, throw tantrums or even threaten teachers. From Los Angeles to Modesto to the Bay Area, districts are reducing suspensions, sometimes dramatically, and drawing raves and national attention — but also bitter criticism. San Jose Mercury

Errors plague testing in public schools
About 10 percent of standardized tests include blocks of flawed questions that cast doubt on the integrity of standardized testing, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation. The newspaper examined close to 100,000 standardized test questions nationwide and found the “vast majority” of states have experienced testing problems. Atlanta Journal Constitution


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