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Morning Read: Ref Rodriguez’s two financial forms are contradictory — and 8 more must-reads

LA School Report | March 26, 2018



Good morning! 9 must-reads for you, to start the day:

Ref Rodriguez filed two forms disclosing his 2014 finances. They don’t line up

Ref Rodriguez’s candidacy for the Los Angeles Unified School Board was not even a day old when, in November 2014, he filed a form disclosing an investment in a private company called Better 4 You Fundraising. It wasn’t the first time Rodriguez had used this standard form. Public officials in California file it to be transparent about financial interests that may conflict with their roles as public servants. Four months after he filed the paperwork for his school board run, Rodriguez filed a second version of this disclosure form — this time with PUC Schools, which he co-founded in 2004. That form was supposed to cover his 2014 finances — almost the exact same period as the previous form. This time, Rodriguez disclosed nothing about Better 4 You Fundraising. By Kyle Stokes, KPCC

Big spending turns California’s race for governor into a proxy war between teachers unions, charter school backersLos Angeles Times

L.A. students to participate in national walkout activities on FridayLos Angeles Times

California leads the nation in sending former inmates to college. Will other states follow?Yahoo News

Will 2018 be the year of the young voter in California?EdSource

Superintendent withdraws from Los Angeles job considerationEducation Week

Districts Are Supposed to Use Evidence to Improve Schools Under ESSA. Will They?Politics K-12

‘We’re Losing a Battle’: More Teens Are Vaping, Despite Surgeon General’s Warning That E-Cigarettes Are a ‘Major Public Health Concern’The 74

Obama Profiles Parkland Survivors For TIME’s ‘100 Most Influential’ ListHuffPost

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See previous morning roundups below:


THURSDAY, APRIL 19: LAUSD retiree health benefits costs grow to $15.2 billion

Good morning! 9 must-reads for you, to start the day:

LAUSD’s Unfunded Health Liabilities Grow To $15.2 Billion As Board Interviews Final Superintendent Candidates

On a day when LAUSD Board Members met behind closed doors to interview the final candidates for a new superintendent to lead the district, LAUSD released a new report showing that the unfunded liability for retiree health benefits has now grown by nearly $2 billion to $15.2 billion.

The Board members did not publicly discuss the new actuarial valuation report showing a massive spike (from $13.6 billion to $15.2 billion) in what it owes for Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB), which are the promises made to retirees and future retirees to cover their healthcare.

But the report, submitted during the Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday, paints a picture of a worsening financial situation that threatens the solvency of LAUSD. Because LAUSD has failed to put aside enough money to pay for retiree health benefits and simply cannot afford to pay as it goes, the district faces the threat of bankruptcy. The unfunded liability also threatens the quality of education students receive as a larger percentage of the budget flows outside the classroom every year – leaving less for student programs. By Leslee Komaiko and Jenny Hontz, Speak UP

The power game behind the search for a new L.A. schools leaderLos Angeles Times

Big money from charter backers has potential to reshape governor’s raceLos Angeles Daily News

California’s poor students rank next to last on national testThe Mercury News

California to get huge boost in child care funds from federal budgetEdSource

Senate Confirms Nominee to Be Top Attorney at DeVos Education DepartmentPolitics K-12

A Civil Rights Activist Filed Thousands of Disability Complaints. Now the Education Department Is Trying to Shut Her DownThe 74

Most Teenagers Are Scared of a Shooting in Their Schools and So Are Their ParentsEducation Week

OPINION: Six decades later, Brown v. Board of Education ruling is still only an aspirationHechinger Report


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18: LAUSD board meets privately with superintendent candidates

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

L.A. school board meets privately with finalists and debates choice for school district leader

The Los Angeles Board of Education adjourned late Tuesday after spending more than 10 hours interviewing candidates and trying to reach a decision on who would be the next leader of the nation’s second-largest school system. When the meeting finally recessed at 10:11 p.m., a spokesman announced only that the school board would reconvene Friday at noon. Going into the day’s meetings, there were apparently four finalists, according to sources who could not be named because they were unauthorized to speak. By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

African-American students would get extra aid under California’s K-12 funding formula in proposal before LegislatureEdSource

Child poverty drops in California, but is still the nation’s highestEdSource

New Research: As Enrollment in Public Pre-K Surges, Quality Fails to Keep Pace, The 74

Bay Area district links with start-up to help educators buy homesEdSource

What Principals Really Think About TechEducation Week

Here’s How the Public Views Teachers, Their Salaries, and Their ImpactPolitics K-12

Google Puts the Pedal to the Metal for Rural Students With Expansion of Free School Bus Wifi Into 12 More StatesThe 74


TUESDAY, APRIL 17: Beutner becomes top pick for LAUSD superintendent

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

Beutner emerges as a top pick for L.A. schools superintendent amid last-minute jockeying

Austin Beutner has emerged as a leading contender to run the Los Angeles school district, with backers saying he is smart enough and tough enough to confront its financial and academic struggles.

Though he does not have a background in education, the former investment banker has in the last year examined some of the district’s intractable problems, serving as co-chair of an outside task force with the support of then-Supt. Michelle King.

Sources inside and outside the school district said Beutner appears to have more support on the seven-member board than other finalists, and his name could come up for a vote as early as Tuesday. By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

Two-Thirds of California Voters Say Education Is a ‘Very Important’ Issue in Governor’s Race, Survey FindsThe 74

Big money from charter backers has potential to reshape governor’s raceEdSource

National Academic Standards Have Produced a Lot of NothingReal Clear Education

Do high school dual enrollment courses mean college credit? Read the fine print. The Washington Post

President George W. Bush Reflects on the Lasting Impact of No Child Left Behind at ASU+GSV: ‘For the First Time, in Return for Money, People Had to Show Results,’ The 74

Is Your Body Appropriate to Wear to School? The New York Times

Crowding Out K-12 EducationThe Wall Street Journal


MONDAY, APRIL 16: California’s poor students rank next to last on national test

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

California’s poor students rank next to last on national test

California’s poor students performed worse on a national exam than needy kids from all but one other state, according to results released this week by the National Center for Education Statistics. Congratulations, folks. We beat Alaska.

These students’ lackluster scores on the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress come despite the state’s $31.2 billion investment in their learning under a new school funding method championed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2013. And although the average California fourth-grader from a low-income family scored a few points higher on this most recent test than a decade ago, poor students’ scores on the test have declined since the state’s investment. By Jessica Calefati, CALmatters

California’s plan for Every Student Succeeds Act heads to Betsy DeVos for approvalEdSource

New study shows kids who struggle with ‘executive function’ may be five times more likely to experience academic difficultiesThe 74

LAUSD school workers vote to authorize strikeNBCLosAngeles

After walkouts, U.S. teachers eye elections for school funding gainsReuters via Topsheet.com

From public housing to college: new national pilot helps low-income students in LA make that journeyEdSource

After surviving classroom shooting, L.A. teacher reconsiders what school safety meansEducation Week

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