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Education must-reads: From charter politics still shaping LAUSD school board elections to an audit finding the state lottery is not putting enough money into Education, 10 new things to know about California’s schools (and beyond)

LA School Report | February 26, 2020

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Education Must-Reads is our daily roundup of the most interesting news articles and analysis surrounding students, schools and California education policy.

Charter school politics still in play in LA Unified school board elections

The majority of Los Angeles Unified school board seats are up for grabs next week, a pivotal election that will shape how the state’s largest school district approaches several key challenges. 

The next school board will have to grapple with budget deficits, enrollment declines and achievement gaps for black, Latino, low-income and other underserved students. However, the biggest issue framing the March 3 primary, with four of seven board seats on the ballot, remains charter schools and how to handle efforts to expand school choice. A new state law giving districts a bigger say on whether or not to approve new charter schools takes effect in July. By Michael Burke, EdSource


Those Nasty LAUSD School Board Campaign Ads: What’s Fact? What’s Opinion? LAist

California lottery shortchanged schools by $36 million as revenues soared, audit finds, The Sacramento Bee

New California school vaccine rules have left nurses, doctors and parents confused, Los Angeles Times

On Education: What Democratic presidential candidates are promising, EdSource

Students protest suspension of teacher who sparked ‘American Dirt’ backlash, Los Angeles Times

Democratic Debate Fact-Check: Did 23 NYC Schools Top State Rankings When Bloomberg Left Office? Close. It was 22, and That List Deserves a Closer Look, The 74

Trump budget would slash, recast Ed. funding stream, Education Week

Coronavirus forces universities online, Insider Higher Education

Schools Should Prepare for Coronavirus Outbreaks, CDC Officials Warn , Education Week

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See previous morning roundups below:


State analyst says nix Newsom’s early childhood plan

Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to streamline the complicated web of agencies that support early childhood in California by creating a new state agency.

Not so fast, says the Legislative Analyst’s Office. On Friday the nonpartisan agency tasked with advising the legislature released a report recommending lawmakers reject the proposal. By Mariana Dale, LAist

Cal State Long Beach shows biggest graduation rate gains of all 23 CSU campuses, EdSource

San Diego prosecutors: Districts that authorized A3 charter schools should pay back oversight fees, San Diego Union-Tribune

Building better schools and colleges: Californians argue for and against Prop. 13 on March 3, 2020 ballot, EdSource

USC offers free tuition to families making under $80,000 and a break for homeowners, Los Angeles Times

California students who sued the state because they can’t read just won $53 million for troubled schools, The Washington Post

Bernie Sanders Wins Nevada: How Las Vegas Teachers Helped the Candidate Score His Biggest 2020 Victory Yet, The 74

Corporations hurt low-income and minority students by pulling school choice funding, The Washington Examiner

Teaching Children How to Reverse an Overdose, The New York Times



Special education in California in need of overhaul, researchers say

Special education in California should be overhauled to focus on the individual needs of students, with better training for teachers, more streamlined services and improved screening for the youngest children, according to a compilation of reports released today.

Those were some of the recommendations proposed in “Special Education: Organizing Schools to Serve Students with Disabilities in California,” a package of 13 reports and a summary produced by Policy Analysis for California Education, a nonpartisan research and policy organization led by faculty from UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Southern California and Stanford University. By Carolyn Jones, EdSource

A surprise big spender funds attack campaign mailers in key L.A. school board races, Los Angeles Times

Gov. Newsom’s big bets: community schools, competitive grants and new teacher incentives, EdSource

Long Beach Unified Places Teacher On Leave Amid Allegations She Used ‘N-Word’ In Class, LAist

Column: There’s a new Proposition 13. It would send billions to California schools that need it, Los Angeles Times

Teachers Find Coaching Helpful, but Most Don’t Get Enough of It, Survey Says, The 74

An Unorthodox Strategy Closes Academic Gaps, EdWeek

Food fight: How 2 Trump proposals could bite into school lunch, NPR

How Could Michael Bloomberg’s Education Record Play on the Democratic Debate Stage? EdWeek


Newsom wants more dyslexia screenings, services for California students

A new plan by Gov. Gavin Newsom, who struggled with dyslexia as a child, would pay for more screenings and services for the thousands of California students with dyslexia — a condition that advocates say has not received enough attention in schools.

The California Dyslexia Initiative, which the governor announced last week as part of his 2020-21 budget proposal, would set aside $4 million for screening, professional learning for teachers, research and a conference on dyslexia, a learning disorder that affects one’s ability to read and write. Although the amount is small compared to the overall education budget, it lays the groundwork for future investment and brings much-needed attention to the issue, advocates said. By Carolyn Jones, EdSource

West Valley board member faces two challengers in high-spending LAUSD election, Los Angeles Daily News

Delta sued again over jet fuel dumped on LA-area schools, Los Angeles Daily News

I only took three years of high school math, escaped with a ‘D’ and turned out OK, Los Angeles Times

College is expensive; what will key 2020 candidates do about it?, Sacramento Bee

Cal State San Marcos executives leave university on eve of critical audit, San Diego Union-Tribune

Toch: School Choice Is Here to Stay. But How to Make It Fair and Equitable for All Families? High-Tech Common-Enrollment System Can Help, The 74

Number of homeless students hits an all-time high, The New York Times

Bernie Sanders wades into a local education issue, criticizes DC decision to close school, The Washington Post

Education department investigating Harvard, Yale over foreign funding, The Wall Street Journal



How Gov. Newsom’s ambitious budget proposals for teacher recruitment and preparation will be spent 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s bold plans for recruiting and preparing teachers, revealed in his budget proposal last month for the coming fiscal year, were widely acclaimed by teachers and other education advocates. 

Newsom made recruiting and training teachers the biggest education priority of his proposed 2020-21 budget, allocating more than $915 million for staff development and recruitment — more than was spent in the previous five years combined, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office. By Diana Lambert, EdSource

Teachers unions ask: Is it time to rethink school-shooting drills? Los Angeles Times

College costs, teacher shortage still top concerns in poll of California voters, EdSource

Despite Warning, Schmerelson Still Failed to Properly Report Johnson & Johnson Stock, New Complaint Alleges, Speak UP

New Occidental College president hailed for diversity efforts, Los Angeles Times

Foundation Report Looks Back at 3 Years of Helping Charter School Operators Build, Find and Renovate Classroom Space for Their Students, The 74

Trump administration’s budget would eliminate federal funding for charter schools, U.S. News & World Report

6 districts invested in principals and saw dramatic gains. Dozens will try to do the same, Education Week

Teacher unions, gun-control advocates urge changes to active-shooter drills, citing student trauma, The Washington Post

Where Sanders, Trump, and Warren Have Common Ground on Charter Schools, Education Week


High school students benefit from taking college courses, but access uneven in California

At least one in eight California high school seniors take community college courses while still in high school, an increasingly popular strategy that gives students a head start on their college careers, and has been shown to boost both high school and college graduation rates.

A new study from the Wheelhouse Center for Community College Leadership and Research at the UC Davis School of Education provides the most specific figures yet about how many students in California participate in so-called “dual enrollment” programs.

It found that 12.6 percent of high school seniors enrolled in these programs in 2016-17, the last year for which data was available.  Researchers said they expect today’s rates to be even higher.  By Louis Freedberg and Ali Tadayon, EdSource

How some California school districts invest in counseling – and achieve results, EdSource

Lopez: About to become teachers, they’re worried about affording the rent, Los Angeles Times

Nearly every San Diego County school district may be spending more than it can afford, San Diego Union-Tribune

Bell High wins LAUSD’s 2020 Academic Decathlon, a first for the school, Los Angeles Times

Two New Schmerelson Complaints Filed Over Outdated Financial Disclosure to City Ethics Commission, Speak UP

Three Decades After Its First School Funding Lawsuit, New Hampshire Turns to the Public for the First Time to Find an Equitable Solution for All Students, The 74

High school ratings can mask groups of students who struggle, Hechinger Report 

Two boys with the same disability tried to get help. The rich student got it quickly. The poor student did not, USA Today

Mirroring a national trend, 4 charter schools apply to open in Memphis — a 5-year low, Chalkbeat



LAUSD board member under investigation for possible misreporting of personal finances

The California Fair Political Practices Commission is investigating Los Angeles Unified School District board member Scott Schmerelson for a potential violation of economic disclosure regulations, as the West San Fernando Valley board member campaigns for reelection.

The commission is looking at discrepancies in Schmerelson’s disclosure of personal investments in tobacco corporate giant Altria Group. Financial disclosure forms appear to raise questions about when he first purchased the stock and whether it was reported accurately when he entered office in 2015.

An investigation was prompted by three complaints filed to the FPPC by former challenger for the Board District 3 seat Kenneth Ragsdale, a parent and education advocate affiliated with the group Speak Up Parents. Ragsdale did not garner enough signatures to qualify for the March 3 ballot. By Ariella Plachta, Los Angeles Daily News

California May Pause Student Fitness Tests Due to Bullying, Los Angeles Times

California Parents Sharpen Their Computer Science Skills Alongside Students, EdSource

District 7 Candidate Mike Lansing Promises to Bring ‘Voice of Reason’ to ‘Dysfunctional’ L.A. School Board, Speak UP

Oakland Unified superintendent recommends laying off more than 68 staffers to close budget gap, EdSource

Trump Uses State of the Union Address to Push for Tax-Credit Scholarships, Declaring No Child Should Be Forced to Attend ‘a Failing Government School’, The 74

University of California Should Keep Requiring SAT or ACT Scores for Admissions, Task Force Says, The Washington Post

 For Some High Schoolers, Summer Camp Is for College Prep, The New York Times

State of the Union: Trump Pushes Choice, Private Scholarship Tax Credits, Education Dive

 Trump’s Imminent Education Budget and How Washington Sows Confusion Over School Spending, Education Week



This election is off-limits to voters. But the results will matter a lot to L.A. school families

One ballot this season is off-limits to the public but carries far-reaching ramifications for hundreds of thousands of youths and their families — the election of a new president and other officers for the Los Angeles teachers union.

United Teachers Los Angeles President Alex Caputo-Pearl, who led 30,000 teachers in a strike that gripped Los Angeles last year, is barred by term limits from running for a third three-year term. His replacement will instantly become a major voice in the nation’s second-largest school system and the leader of a union that has long influenced education policy in Los Angeles. The winner also will confront internal challenges, including the mobilization of anti-union groups that seek to persuade members to abandon UTLA entirely. By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

Southern California students face disappointment, uncertainty after virus outbreak cancels study-abroad sessions in China, Los Angeles Daily News

California school officials reassure immigrant parents after ruling limiting benefits, EdSource

The importance of free transportation for students, Los Angeles Daily News

Parents often don’t know what their college kids are going through. CSU is changing that, Los Angeles Times

Christina Martinez Duran, LAUSD Board District 5 Candidate: ‘Parents Have Been Ignored and Dismissed’, Speak UP

Could a Supreme Court case about tax dollars for religious schools affect California?San Diego Union-Tribune

Districts, Charters and ‘Public School Vouchers’: Unraveling Elizabeth Warren’s Complicated Evolution on School Choice, The 74

Privacy Law May Make Students Harder to Count for Census, The New York Times

NY and CA spend billions more in taxes than TX and FL — and get worse results, The New York Post


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