FROM Ingrid Villeda
Are California Public Schools Giving Up On Their Students? Some 20,000 California “students cannot afford to wait any longer.” That’s according to the US Justice Department, which has backed the ACLU in a lawsuit against the state’s elected Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torklakson, and the Department of Education. The 20,000 kids are English learners who, allegedly, are not getting any of the services required by federal law or the State Constitution.
Common Core: For Better or Worse As the father of children in New York public schools, comedian Louis CK has become a poster-parent for protest against Common Core . That's the new federally approved program of educational standards designed to produce the critical thinking and analytical skills required for success in the global economy. Louis CK says, "My kids used to love math. Now it makes them cry." California has adopted the Common Core standards for public schools but not for everybody. Tests are being given this year in grades three through eight and 11 — but no results will be made public. In fact, the tests themselves are being tested.
It's a Brave New World for LA Unified LA Unified began training teachers for the new Common Core curriculum two years ago. Last year, it was introduced in kindergarten and grades one, six and nine. How important is it? Superintendent John Deasy told school administrators, "We have a historic opportunity…to lead a complete shift in how we asses what our youth know and can do, and to lead the complete shift in an accountability system." Acknowledging that introducing it to other grades this year won't be easy, he encouraged, "We will be successful at this I have no doubt. The best predictor of future success is past performance." Also, among the challenges for this year of change is the "Parent Trigger" law passed by California voters two years ago. The first school affected in LAUSD is 24th Street Elementary in South LA. Alex Schmidt, who came to us from KCRW's Independent Producer Project , has a report.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.