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Morning Read: SF Valley Charter Schools Unite in Advocacy Efforts

LA School Report | November 19, 2013

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San Fernando Valley charter schools unite to form advocacy council
After a change in Los Angeles Unified’s funding policy sent their numbers soaring, the 42 affiliated charter schools in the San Fernando Valley have formed an official council that will work as a bloc to communicate with district officials. The Valley Affiliated Charter Schools organized in early November, electing officers and setting goals for the local charter movement. LA Daily News

L.A. school board’s us-versus-them dynamic doesn’t help students
Commentary: If you plan to attend the Los Angeles school board meeting today, you might want to pack a lunch. And a dinner. And maybe even a pillow. If the last two meetings are any measure, we’re heading back to the bad old days of L.A. Unified, when battling board members and complex issues routinely produced sessions so long that parents had to leave to put the kids to bed before their turn to speak rolled around. LA Times

$135 million more proposed for L.A. Unified’s iPad rollout
Top Los Angeles school officials hope to spend $135 million in the spring semester for the next portion of the iPad rollout, according to the official price estimate that emerged this week as part of a revised, compromise plan. That compromise was characterized as a slowdown of the $1-billion effort to provide iPads to every student and teacher in the nation’s second-largest school system. LA Times

CA’s testing suspension threatens algebra project
A team of educators, academics and researchers stretching from Sacramento to Washington D.C. have spent much of the past four years developing and conducting a randomized controlled experiment in teaching algebra to at-risk eighth graders. But a change in California law last summer that suspended most statewide testing next year threatens the carefully designed program. SI&A Cabinet Report

Federal preschool bill highlights need to improve state program
Legislation introduced in Congress last week that would expand public preschool could serve as a wake-up call in California to beef up early education programs, advocates here say. A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Wednesday introduced the Strong Start for America’s Children Act. EdSource

Why a misunderstood reform needs crisis management
Commentary: The Common Core needs a public relations makeover — quickly. In the last few days, the new set of tougher math and English language standards for grades K-12 has suffered a spate of bad publicity that could undermine its very purpose — and turn off an already skeptical public. Hechinger Report

States Make Progress on Data Systems, Advocacy Group Reports
There are significant signs of progress in the effort to build more coherent statewide educational data systems, an advocacy group reports: Dozens of states are now linking K-12 and postsecondary information systems to each other, for example, while teachers in 35 states now have access to multiple years’ worth of data about the students in their classrooms. EdWeek

Is New York’s Charter-School Era Waning?
At Harlem Success Academy 5, one of the newest in the expanding network of New York City charter schools, students can earn “scholar dollars” by staying on their best behavior, turning in assignments on time, and getting good grades. In the school store, students can use these scholar dollars to purchase, among other items, candy (thirty scholar dollars), temporary tattoos (forty-five), and a trip to a nearby Chuck E. Cheese’s (six hundred). The New Yorker

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