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.
Trump's Russia ties intensify with Comey firing Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe contradicted the Trump White House today, insisting the Bureau had not lost faith in former Director James Comey. He promised to notify the committee of any interference into investigation of the Trump campaign's contacts with Vladimir Putin's Russia. What do we know about those contacts… and how they relate to Trump's business interests and those of his family?
A New York Times op-ed on climate change sparks uproar The New York Times is embroiled in a public furor over a new columnist, who wrote that scientific uncertainty is reason for debate about climate change. Many conservatives are delighted. Is America's leading liberal newspaper fostering climate denial? This is the latest in our series, "The Emotional States of America."