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Morning Read: Vast majority of CA charters do not have high suspension rates — and 7 more must-reads

LA School Report | November 27, 2017



Good morning! 8 must-reads for you, to start the day:

A few LA charter schools severely skew charter suspension data

In my last post, I alluded to a major difference in charter school suspension rates vs traditional school suspension rates. This was wrong and shortsighted. If you look at averages, charter schools in Los Angeles Unified suspend at a rate that is 3 times higher than traditional schools. That is an unduplicated number, meaning that we are counting the total percent of students who were suspended at any point in the school year. But averages are deceiving.

The immediate question I had was whether this is a distributed number, or the result of a few charter schools that suspend at high rates. Or, is the high suspension rate evenly distributed? A good way to look at this is something we all learn in 6th grade math: The histogram.

For those of you who have lost touch with your sixth grade math self, a histogram presents counts of all the schools that fall into a “bucket”. So the large first column you see there are the 160 or so schools that have a suspension rate between 0% and 1%.

Looking at it this way, it is clear that a plurality of charter schools have very low suspension rates. In fact, the median charter school has a suspension rate of 0.2%. However, there are about 60 high-suspension rate charters that drag up the average. Those sixty charters account for 20% of the charter school population in Los Angeles, but also account for 66% of the unduplicated suspensions at charter schools. If those 60 charter schools weren’t included in the count, the remainder of the charter schools in Los Angeles would have the same suspension rate as the rest of the district.

This means that, contrary to what I said in the last post, the vast majority of charter schools do not really have higher suspension rates. Some do, but most do not. By School Data Nerd

How one California district narrowed its Latino achievement gapEdSource

LAUSD Board To Vote on School Calendar Tuesday With Mid-August StartSpeak Up

New California ‘dashboard’ will prompt deeper questions about student and school performanceEdSource

Opportunity Wasted: Second-Round ESSA Plans Get Largely Lackluster Reviews From Independent ExpertsThe 74

A Nation Answers a Sobbing Boy’s Plea: ‘Why Do They Bully?’ The New York Times

4-Year-Old’s Parents Livestreamed His Reading Marathon As He Finished 100 BooksHuffington Post

Education Department Urged to Resume Loan CancellationsAP via TopSheet

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See previous morning roundups below.


MONDAY, DEC. 11: One California district leads the way on new science standards

Good morning! 7 must-reads for you, to start the day:

How one California school district is leading the way on new science standards

As schools nationwide take on the most comprehensive overhaul of science standards in 20 years, a school district in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles has become a pace-setter.  Without relying on outside funding, or major grant money, Torrance Unified has trained more than 500 teachers and has unveiled the new standards to all 24,000 students in the district.

By devoting thousands of hours to teacher training, the district has shown teachers from kindergarten through 12th grade how to explain scientific phenomenon in a new way to their students — by letting the students discover the answers on their own, instead of memorizing facts from a textbook. “We feel science is the center of a good education, so this has been a priority for us from the beginning. But there are fundamental things we’ve done that all districts can do,” said Amy Argento, one of three classroom science teachers the district assigned to train their colleagues. By Carolyn Jones, EdSource

Federal government changes position in court case over teachers union duesThe 74

Even as schools are closed amid firestorms, campus kitchens remain openLos Angeles Times

School closures continue in Santa BarbaraNewsweek

Betsy DeVos commentary: ‘Tolerating low expectations for children with disabilities must end’Education Week

Third indication U.S. educational system is deterioratingHechinger Report

Testing. Suspensions. College-level materials. How ESSA could change your classroomThe 74


FRIDAY, DEC. 8: One in 4 California school districts required to get county help 

One in 4 California school districts required to get county help based on new state performance data 

One in 4 California school districts received notice that they must work with county offices of education or with a new state agency to improve the education of at least one of their student groups that were ranked among the worst performers on the California School Dashboard, a new school and district grading system released on Thursday. By John Fensterwald, EdSource

Who gets suspended in Los Angeles? And what for?, School Data Nerd

Commentary: California’s school duel headed for new arenaCALmatters

State updates school data: here’s how the school dashboard worksEdSource

Federal Government Switches Sides, Joins Argument for Striking Down Mandatory Dues in Janus CaseThe 74

Sen. Al Franken, LGBT Student Rights Advocate and DeVos Critic, Will ResignPolitics K-12

The Republican Tax Plan Is an Early Christmas Gift for Betsy DeVos, Mother Jones

A Few PIRLS of Wisdom on New Reading ResultsCato


THURSDAY, DEC. 7: 265 LAUSD schools close from wildfires

Good morning! 7 must-reads for you, to start the day:

Fires close 265 L.A. Unified schools; Santa Monica-Malibu closures continue

All Los Angeles Unified schools in the San Fernando Valley as well as 17 schools on the city’s Westside will be closed for the rest of the week, district officials announced Wednesday afternoon. The decision closes at least 265 schools in neighborhoods affected by the wildfires raging in and near Los Angeles. The district’s number doesn’t include all adult schools and charter schools, some of which are also expected to close. By Joy Resmovits and Anna M. Phillips, Los Angeles Times

LAUSD To Parents: Better Student Attendance Would Save MillionsSpeak Up

California School Dashboard provides opportunity for schools “to turn data into action”EdSource

Public charter high school on Oracle campus to open in JanuaryMercury News

Is Teacher Recertification Broken?EdWeek

50 Years After Latin Disappeared from High School Classrooms, These Educators Are Bringing It BackThe 74

What the latest research really says about LGBT youth in schoolsWashington Post


WEDNESDAY, DEC. 6: New lawsuit says California children can’t read, and the state doesn’t have an adequate plan to fix it

Good morning! 8 must-reads for you, to start the day:

California isn’t doing enough to teach kids how to read, lawsuit says

Too many California children can’t read, and the state doesn’t have an adequate plan to fix the problem, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The complaint, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court by the advocacy law firm Public Counsel, alleges that the state is not meeting its constitutional responsibility to educate all children.

California lags behind the national average in both reading and writing for fourth- and eighth-graders, according to national education data. By Sonali Kohli, Los Angeles Times

More than 50 schools in the Los Angeles area are closed today as multiple wildfires burn, Los Angeles Times

Green Dot’s Suspension Rates Continue to be Remarkably HighSchool Data Nerd

How L.A. Unified could reduce absenteeism, if it listens to outside advisorsLos Angeles Times

More than 1 in 10 California students are ‘chronically absent’EdSource

Global Reading Scores Are Rising, But Not for U.S. StudentsEducation Week

Most Pregnant and Parenting Students Don’t Graduate. Here’s How One Rhode Island High School Is Helping Its Teens Beat the OddsThe 74

The Assault On Our Education System In The House and Senate Tax Plans Will Literally KillHuffington Post


TUESDAY, DEC. 5: LAUSD talks “crazy plans” to help raise student achievement

Good morning! 8 must-reads for you, to start the day:

Board Should ‘Push The Envelope’ To Help Kids

Board Member Richard Vladovic (BD7) said that he was “so depressed” by the dismal performance of LAUSD’s highest-need schools receiving School Improvement Grants that he’s willing to “push the envelope” and try some “crazy plans” in an attempt to make them work for kids.

“It’s such a tragedy,” he said at a special Board meeting last Tuesday. “I’m convinced it’s not all about money. The millions and millions and millions and millions of dollars we’ve spent, we made no significant difference. So it’s not what you spend, it’s how you spend it.”

Both Vladovic and Board Member George McKenna (BD1) suggested that quality teachers and accountability were crucial to raising student achievement. McKenna also said that seniority did not determine teacher quality and suggested it should not determine salaries. By Jenny Hontz, Speak UP

Governor candidates square off over education at San Diego forumLos Angeles Times

‘I never had any teachers that looked like me.’ Fresno Unified aims for more diversityThe Fresno Bee

Coding lessons take spotlight this week across California and beyondEdSource

Lake: In a Deeply Flawed ‘Analysis,’ the Associated Press Blames Public Charter Schools for America’s Segregated CitiesThe 74

U.S. High School Graduation Rates Rise to New HighWashington Post via TopSheet.com

About 90 Percent of Puerto Rico’s Schools Are Open, But Enrollment Is DownPolitics K-12

How Effective Is Your School District? A New Measure Shows Where Students Learn the MostThe New York Times

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