FROM John Fensterwald
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.
It's Jerry Brown versus… the Democrats? Governor Brown says , "This is not an ordinary legislative measure. This is a cause." He wants to direct more state money to districts with large numbers of low-income students and those who have trouble with English. If fellow Democrats who represent wealthier districts have a problem with that, the Governor has promised them "the battle of their lives." He's vowed to fight it with everything he has, "and whatever we have to bring to bear on this battle, we're bringing it."
Can Education Reformers Bypass UTLA and Governor Brown? President Obama's Education Secretary Arne Duncan has encouraged states to compete for education reform money under the program called Race to the Top . California's applications have failed every time, most recently because Governor Brown refused to commit to using $49 million federal dollars in ways opposed by the California Teachers' Association . Now, Duncan has warmed to a proposal by big city mayors — Bloomberg of New York, Emanuel of Chicago and LA's Antonio Villaraigosa. Individual districts, including LA Unified, might be able to apply on their own.
What happens when America retreats from the world? Is President Trump taking his "America First" agenda to extremes, withdrawing the country from the international stage on trade and climate change, distancing America from its traditional allies across the Atlantic and even threatening to physically isolate the country through the building of a wall along its southern border? León Krauze guest hosts.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
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?