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Your cheat sheet on this week in education in Los Angeles — and quick fact: attendance was up on May Day Monday in LA schools

LA School Report | May 1, 2017

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Marchers in Los Angeles in Monday’s May Day protests. (Courtesy: Parent Revolution)


The week and the month kicked off Monday with 100,000 people participating in May Day marches across Los Angeles, which for the first time in more than a decade all joined together at their final destination at City Hall. Teacher union organizers had called on Superintendent Michelle King to close the schools, but the schools remained open and attendance was even higher than average. The district received requests for about 1,950 substitute teachers on Monday, compared with an average of 2,300 for a Monday during second semester, and the student absence rate was 3.5 percent, compared with a daily average of 3.9 percent.

Monday also brought a barrage of jubilant social media posts as high schoolers across the country were making their college decisions in time for Monday’s deadlines. Also Monday, National Charter Schools Week kicked off with the announcement of the finalists for the 2017 Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools before moving to Capitol Hill for a Tuesday education briefing and a Wednesday celebration of state and federal legislators who have championed charters.

Monday also was match day for public charter schools in Los Angeles and the traditional schools with underused space that will house them. May 1 each year is the deadline for when a charter school must notify the school district whether they plan to accept the Prop. 39 co-location offer made by the superintendent. This year, the district received 95 charter school requests with 57 new locations for an estimated 40,000 charter students.

Tuesday brings two LA Unified meetings at the Beaudry headquarters. In the morning, the Budget, Facilities and Audit Committee will discuss budget decentralization based on suggestions for a Fiscal Stability Plan for the district made by an independent review panel in 2015. That meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. and will be broadcast live. Within 24 hours it is then posted on the district’s website.

On Tuesday afternoon beginning at 2 p.m., the Committee of the Whole is planning to discuss the new Unified Enrollment System which is expected to launch this fall and make it easier for parents to apply to magnet and pilot programs within the district. That meeting will also have a legislative update for the board members by Pedro Salcido and will also be broadcast live online.

Wednesday evening is the Teach For America Los Angeles 2017 Benefit Dinner: A Tale of Tomorrow, where TFA alumni will be recognized as Changemakers in Education. Among the honorees will be Derrick Chau (TFA-LA ’97), the senior executive director of instruction at LAUSD, Marisol Pineda Conde (TFA-LA ’08), the principal of Camino Nuevo Miramar High School, and Hae Na Shin (TFA-LA ’15), a special education teacher at Normandie Elementary School. Also, Great Public Schools Now’s board of directors, represented by William E.B. Siart, chairman, and Myrna Castrejón, executive director, will be recognized as Regional Changemaker in Education. The event will be held at 6 p.m. at Vibiana, 214 South Main St.

On Thursday, the LA Ethics Commission will post updated campaign finance information on its website about fundraising and spending by the school board candidates ahead of the May 16 runoff election. 

On Saturday, the United Way of Greater Los Angeles and high school students in its Young Civic Leaders program will host the Districts 4 and 6 candidates for the LA Unified runoff election in a “College Readiness Forum” where students and the candidates will discuss college access for LA students. The event will be held at the United Way’s downtown office at 1150 S. Olive St. 30th Floor from 2 to 5 p.m.

Next week, on Wednesday, May 10, the California State Board of Education will hear its next update on how the state plans to identify and improve its lowest-performing schools and other requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act. California’s final plan will be submitted to the federal government in September. With the recent repeal of federal regulations governing ESSA and some advocates’ fears that the plans may not be reviewed with scrutiny by the U.S. Department of Education, the California department’s drafting process takes on extra importance for California’s schools and students. 

On Thursday, May 11, the state board of education will hold a hearing on the two Celerity charter schools, Celerity Troika and Celerity Dyad, which were turned down for renewal by the LA Unified school board in October. Department of Education Staff recommened approving the renewals, with six conditions and 10 technical amendments. A renewal petition will also be heard for New West Charter School in West Los Angeles.

Parents at an elementary school in Anaheim, who had previously won a district court ruling, are now seeking charter school partners after they won a second ruling on their right to proceed with a “parent trigger.” The California Court of Appeal ruled Friday that Palm Lane Elementary was indeed an underperforming school, despite changes in California’s school accountability system. It also ruled that the parent petitions for a school restart model are valid under the 2010 trigger law, officially called the California Parent Empowerment Act. The school district has not yet determined if it will appeal to the California Supreme Court. School reform advocates also are watching to see whether groups of families at other California schools who have been waiting for courts to affirm Palm Lane’s case will now organize to improve their schools.

And it’s just two weeks to go until Tuesday, May 16, the runoff in the LA Unified school board election in Districts 4 and 6. Read LA School Report’s complete coverage at LAUSD Race 2017.

This article has been updated to add Teach for America’s award banquet on Wednesday.

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