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Education must-reads: From students taking off around Los Angeles as teachers strike to Newsom’s push for charter transparency, 9 new things to know about California’s schools (and beyond)

LA School Report | January 15, 2018



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

The kids are all right: As L.A. teachers strike, students take off around the city

Who knows how many rules they were breaking, this rogue Advanced Placement biology class from a high school that shall remain nameless? There they were, huddled under the bright lights of the Northridge Fashion Center food court Monday, the first day of the teachers’ strike. Four heads of dark shiny hair bent over rapidly filling notebook paper. Four pens scribbling fast. As their teacher — yes, their striking teacher, fresh from the picket line, resplendent in #RedForEd — lectured about RNA and DNA and lactose and proteins, cytoplasm and ribosomes. “I told you guys that we’re ‘randomly’ meeting here,” the teacher told the giggling scholars. “It’s purely coincidence,” responded Alina, a 16-year-old junior from West Hills, breaking into a big smile. Technically speaking, members of United Teachers Los Angeles who are striking for smaller classes and bigger paychecks should not be explicating the finer points of “central dogma and gene regulation” with their students. Technically speaking, Los Angeles Unified School District students should be on campus on an official school day, strike or not. Otherwise, they are technically considered truant, and the financially strapped district loses money. By Maria L. La Ganga, Los Angeles Times

It didn’t fix the L.A. teacher strike, but Newsom’s pension idea would help schools, anyway, CALmatters

Day 1 of LA teachers’ strike: Newsom pushes for more transparency of charter schools, CALmatters

These Are The Democrats Supporting The LA Teachers Strike, Huffington Post

Will students who stay home during LAUSD strike be penalized? Your questions answered, Los Angeles Times

The long-term problem at L.A. Unified that a strike can’t fix, Los Angeles Times Editorial Board

‘Like Minority Report but in Real Life’: Post-Parkland, Schools Turn to Controversial Artificial Intelligence Surveillance to Thwart Potential Shootings, The 74

Will The LA Teacher Strike Inspire Texas Teachers To Walk Out? Probably Not, KUT 90.5

L.A. teachers’ strike: It’s not too late to avert disaster, Los Angeles Times

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See previous morning roundups below:


MONDAY, JAN. 14:

LAUSD teachers go on strike

Los Angeles teachers walked off the job Monday morning in their first strike in 30 years, leaving half a million students and their families with difficult choices. Schools will be open but it’s unknown how many students will head to classes in the nation’s second-largest school system. Some will be joining their teachers on the picket line. For those who go to school, the day is unlikely to follow routines as volunteers, an estimated 400 substitutes and 2,000 staffers from central and regional offices fill in for 31,000 teachers, nurses, librarians and counselors. At 10 schools, nonteaching employees will take part in a sympathy strike, which will create additional headaches as administrators struggle to manage such tasks as preparing and serving meals. During the last teachers’ strike in 1989, which lasted about nine days, roughly half of the district students went to school. The plan at many schools for this strike is to gather students into large groups, so they can be supervised by fewer adults. It’s not clear how much learning will be going on outside of the real-time civics lessons happening on the streets. By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

LAUSD Teachers Go On Strike Today, LAist

Parents’ and Kids’ Lives Thrown Into Disarray As UTLA Goes On Strike ‘For As Long As It Takes’, Speak Up

LACOE Chief Explains LAUSD’s Financial Crisis, Decries Unions’ ‘Racist and Sexist’ Attacks As ‘Unacceptable, Inappropriate And Frankly, Something We’re Not Going To Tolerate’, Speak UP

Standoff between Sacramento City school district and teachers flares up, Sacramento Bee

As teachers threaten to strike, Oakland Unified looks to higher teacher pay to improve student learning, EdSource

LAUSD BD5 Candidate Heather Repenning: ‘I Think 100 Percent, Parents Should Have A Seat At The Table’, Speak UP

Newsom’s higher education budget would boost aid, freeze tuition and repair campuses, EdSource

This Week in Education Politics: With Shutdown in Background, Congress Focuses on Disaster Aid for Districts, Higher Ed Regulations, School Choice & More, The 74

Absenteeism, teacher stress, and school safety: school climate factors to watch in 2019, Education Week

Cross section of CSU leaders praise Gov. Newsom’s budget proposal to add to university system’s budget, Long Beach News

Newsom Proposes $144 Billion California Budget With Focus On Education, Building Reserves, Capital Public Radio

The Community School Comes of Age, New York Times

Sometimes, advanced classes can slow a child’s progress, Washington Post


FRIDAY, JAN. 11:

Windfall for California K-12 schools, more spending from early to higher ed in Newsom’s first budget

School districts laboring under higher mandated expenses would receive a surprise windfall — pension-cost relief — in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first proposed state budget for 2019-20, which will also provide big spending increases for early and higher education.

Using surplus money from the state’s General Fund, Newsom would wipe out $3 billion of districts’ rising obligations to CalSTRS, the pension fund for teachers and administrators, including $350 million each of the next two fiscal years. If the Legislature passes the budget as proposed, districts will be able to spend that money as they want. The remaining $2.3 billion would reduce districts’ liabilities beyond 2020-21.

The governor is also proposing $576 million more for special education — another fast-rising expense that has eaten into districts’ spending. And, with $10 million in one-time money, he would kick-start a project that Jerry Brown, his predecessor, had resisted: creation over time of a statewide database linking student information from early education programs through K-12 schools to post-secondary education and into the workforce. By John Fensterwald and Zaidee Stavely, EdSource

School districts will be required to verify they’re fixing California’s lowest-performing schools, EdSource

It’s Official. LAUSD Teachers Are Allowed To Strike On Monday, LAist

‘Struggling’ with LAUSD teachers’ strike means starkly different things depending on your income, Los Angeles Times

LAUSD Superintendent Beutner Meets with Local Black Press to Push for Education Amid Talks of Teacher Strike, Los Angeles Sentinel

How People Are Planning To Feed Students If LAUSD Teachers Strike, LAist

How the Debate Over Charter Schools Is Fueling the Looming Los Angeles Teacher Strike, TIME

Parents Scramble After Learning Preschools Will Close During Strike, But Governor’s Budget Offers Glimmer Of Hope, Speak UP

Pre-Strike Chaos: County Sounds Alarm About LAUSD’s Budget And Strike Date Is Now Moving Target, LAist   

Principled Stand or High-Stakes Standoff? For a Second Year, Houston Thumbs Its Nose at a Popular Texas School Innovation Law and Risks Takeover, The 74

Deadline Looms for Input on New Sex Ed and Gender ID Education in California, NBC Los Angeles

Gavin Newsom wants more bathrooms for kindergartners, CALmatters

State to districts: Remove special-needs students from school where boy was restrained, later died, The Sacramento Bee


THURSDAY, JAN. 10:

LAUSD teachers’ strike could disrupt a delicate life balance for some families

On his first day back from winter break, 11-year-old Merwinn Rojas got a taste of how his life could change during a teachers’ strike. The after-school robotics league he participates in three days a week at Foshay Learning Center, about five miles south of downtown Los Angeles, was canceled Monday, so he walked home with his mom in near silence. The shy sixth-grader knows some of the reasons why his teachers are poised to walk the picket line starting Thursday. They have told him their movement is akin to the civil rights crusades of Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. He wants them to get paid more and be treated better. But Merwinn, whose big brown eyes peek out from behind an overgrown bowl haircut, is concerned about what will happen to him and his mother if about 31,000 United Teachers Los Angeles union members go on strike. Across the vast Los Angeles Unified School District, which encompasses some 900 schools and 500,000 students, families are beginning to consider all the ways that a teacher walkout would affect their daily lives. For many, school is about much more than formal education. By Andrea Castillo, Los Angeles Times

LA Teachers Union Has Pushed Possible Strike Date To Monday, LAist

As teachers’ strike looms, L.A. schools aren’t failing us. We’re failing them, Los Angeles Times

Parents Call Potential LAUSD Strike Plan ‘Phenomenally Irresponsible, NBC Los Angeles

An L.A. Unified strike will make a messy situation even worse, Los Angeles Times

A strike teaches the wrong lesson to our students, Los Angeles Daily News

Schools tackle anxiety over food and fees as shutdown shows no sign of ending, The Washington Post

UTLA Delays Strike Until Monday, As LAUSD Pleads With State Leaders For More School Funding, Speak UP

Strike FAQ for Parents, Speak UP

As L.A. teachers threaten to strike, union leaders are fighting a controversial school reform strategy, Chalkbeat

What’s driving these LAUSD teachers to strike, Los Angeles Times

15 award-winning Los Angeles teachers: We don’t want to strike, but this is why we must, The Washington Post

Union Report: Are Teachers Quitting at Record Rate? Actually, They Leave Their Jobs at Lower Rates Than Almost Everyone Else, The 74

Governor Dad: How Gavin Newsom’s kids are about to shape California, CALmatters

Retiring State Board President discusses funding, data and a critical need for more training, EdSource

SF schools’ move to delay algebra shows positive results, district says, San Francisco Chronicle

These 5 Trends Will Dominate STEM + Education in 2019, Forbes


WEDNESDAY, JAN. 9:

Gov. Newsom wants universal preschool for low-income children in California to be phased in over three years

Within days of being sworn in as California’s chief executive, Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to put forward a three-year plan to achieve universal preschool in California for all low-income 4-year-olds, in an attempt to implement a campaign promise pledging a major expansion of early education programs. What’s more, the ambitious plan will call for full-day preschool, according to a document provided by a source close to the Newsom transition team. In 2014, the Legislature declared that “it is the intent of the state to provide all low-income 4-year-old children from working families with full-day, full-year early education and care.” Each year since then, it has provided funds for additional subsidized full day preschool slots, but most slots are still part-day ones. By Louis Freedberg, EdSource

Latest LAUSD Offer Won’t Prevent A Teachers Strike — But Talks Will Continue, LAist

Lawyers wrangle over teachers’ strike date while school board eases volunteer rules, Los Angeles Times

As strike looms, Los Angeles teachers push for more community schools, Education Dive

More Talks Scheduled For Wednesday After LAUSD Sweetens Offer On Hiring and Class Sizes, Speak UP

A Guide For LAUSD Parents In The Event Of A Teachers Strike, LAist

‘A lot of people are looking to California’: What L.A. teachers are thinking about as a strike looms, Chalkbeat

State board of education president, and governor’s ally, leaves mark on California education, EdSource

Elected School Board Members Are Most Likely to Be White, Wealthy & Republican, New Study Finds, The 74

Some of America’s poorest college kids are in financial aid limbo, thanks to disruptions at the IRS, The Washington Post

When Do States Have to Release Their ESSA Report Cards?, Politics K-12

6 K-12 trends to watch in 2019, Education Dive


TUESDAY, JAN. 8:

Los Angeles Braces for Major Teachers’ Strike

There are 900 schools, 30,000 teachers and more than 600,000 students in the Los Angeles public school system. By the end of the week, a teacher strike could throw them all into crisis.

After months of failed negotiations, teachers are expected to walk off the job on Thursday, in a show of frustration over what they say are untenable conditions in the second-largest school system in the country.

Teachers and other employees in the Los Angeles Unified School District are demanding higher pay, smaller class sizes and more support staff like counselors and librarians. But district officials say that they do not have the money to meet all of the demands and that the strike would do more damage to schools than good.

A strike in Los Angeles would offer a new stage for the national teacher protest movement, which in the last year has driven walkouts against stagnant pay and low education funding in six states. A walkout in staunchly liberal Los Angeles would also signal a major shift in a movement that has spread mostly in conservative or swing states with weaker unions. By Jennifer Medina and Dana Goldstein, New York Times

No agreement to avert L.A. teachers’ strike after a long day of bargaining, Los Angeles Times

LAUSD and its teachers make no progress on negotiations, will go to court to determine strike date, Los Angeles Daily News

Highly paid substitutes, lessons in large spaces — how L.A. Unified is preparing for a teachers strike, Los Angeles Times

If there’s an LAUSD teachers strike, non-union substitute teachers could be highly paid, Los Angeles Daily News

L.A. schools have bigger problems than a looming teachers strike, Los Angeles Times

The economy is booming. Why are so many California schools broke?, Sacramento Bee

Teachers have a choice: kids or picket lines, San Bernardino Sun

Governor Dad: How Gavin Newsom’s kids are about to shape California, CALmatters

Consistent to the end, Jerry Brown says it’s all about teachers and students, EdSource

Expectations are high for newly sworn-in state schools chief Tony Thurmond, Los Angeles Times

Tony Thurmond sworn in as new state superintendent of public instruction, EdSource

D.C.’s High Teacher Turnover Rate Hurts Educators as Well as Students. Blame the District’s Pension Plan, The 74

Context on LAUSD’s Potential Teacher Strike, TeacherPensions.org

XQ’s 19th Super School Is an Oakland Diverse-by-Design Charter High School Founded by a Local Teacher, Education Post


MONDAY, JAN. 7:

LAUSD Teachers Strike May Be Delayed By A Few Days

Teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District may not be able to begin their strike, as planned, on Jan. 10 — the date they had picked to begin their work stoppage if they hadn’t yet reached a contract deal with district management.

Instead, the strike may be delayed until Jan. 14. That’s because of a disagreement about when and whether United Teachers Los Angeles officials filed the right paperwork giving formal notice of its intent to strike, according to a statement from the union sent Sunday.

In the statement, UTLA leaders said they plan to “proactively” go to court in the coming week to ensure its members — more than 30,000 LAUSD teachers, counselors, nurses and social workers — can strike on January 10 as planned. Union officials believe their original strike date should still stand. By Kyle Stokes, LAist

L.A.’s Teachers Union Can’t Do Simple Math, Wall Street Journal

Teachers Strike Looms for a Half-Million Children in Los Angeles, Wall Street Journal

Looming teachers’ strike complicates a Garcetti presidential bid, Los Angeles Times

Judge denies L.A. school district’s bid to block teachers strike, Los Angeles Times

Coaches and athletes will be among those most affected by an LAUSD teacher strike, Los Angeles Times

LAUSD teachers may go on strike this week for the first time since 1989: Here’s what you need to know, Los Angeles Daily News

Two years into a fierce contract battle, LAUSD, UTLA can’t agree on a common set of facts, Los Angeles Daily News

LAUSD teacher strike: Guide for parents, ABC 7

The nation’s wave of teacher strikes may hit L.A. this week. But here’s how ours is different, Los Angeles Times

Judge Rejects LAUSD Effort To Protect Kids With Special Needs During Strike, As UTLA and LAUSD Set Last-Ditch Monday Meeting, Speak UP

Alex Caputo-Pearl: Why Los Angeles teachers may have to strike, Los Angeles Times

San Ysidro School District offers employees early-retirement plan amid budget woes, San Diego Union-Tribue

This Week In Education Politics: Navigating the Shutdown, New School Cases Possibly Headed to SCOTUS, Superintendents of the Year & More, The 74

Restorative justice reduces suspensions in elementary grades but not middle school, study shows, EdSource

As Newsom inaugural events begin, he unveils more state budget promises on education and paid family leave, Los Angeles Times

Heather Repenning Campaigns for LAUSD Board of Education, L.A. Weekly

BD Candidate, Principal Cynthia Gonzalez: ‘People Have To See Kids Of Color As Important To Invest In,’ Speak UP

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