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
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Education Must-Reads is our daily roundup of the most interesting news articles and analysis surrounding students, schools and California education policy.
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
These Are The Democrats Supporting The LA Teachers Strike, Huffington Post
The long-term problem at L.A. Unified that a strike can’t fix, Los Angeles Times Editorial Board
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:
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
The Community School Comes of Age, New York Times
Sometimes, advanced classes can slow a child’s progress, Washington Post
FRIDAY, JAN. 11:
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
THURSDAY, JAN. 10:
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
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
Strike FAQ for Parents, Speak UP
What’s driving these LAUSD teachers to strike, Los Angeles Times
SF schools’ move to delay algebra shows positive results, district says, San Francisco Chronicle
WEDNESDAY, JAN. 9:
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
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:
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
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
Teachers have a choice: kids or picket lines, San Bernardino Sun
Expectations are high for newly sworn-in state schools chief Tony Thurmond, Los Angeles Times
Context on LAUSD’s Potential Teacher Strike, TeacherPensions.org
MONDAY, JAN. 7:
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
Two years into a fierce contract battle, LAUSD, UTLA can’t agree on a common set of facts, Los Angeles Daily News
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