FROM Ramon Cortines
Is California Going the Wrong Way in the 'Race to the Top?' The Los Angeles Unified School District is facing a deficit of $500 billion, and it has told unions to choose between furloughs and layoffs . Federal stimulus money is all used up, but the Obama Administration has instituted what it calls the Race to the Top , which could mean more from Washington. Today, Superintendent Ramon Cortines joined Governor Schwarzenegger in supporting legislation to help qualify California for that assistance. The state Senate has passed legislation to show Washington it can both measure and improve the effectiveness of teachers and principals. Now the State Assembly has announced it will reconvene in December, a month early, to pass similar measures.
Los Angeles Schools Get Their Test Scores Test scores are in for LA Unified , Green Dot charter schools and Mayor Villaraigosa's Partnership for Los Angeles schools. They all show some improvement, but there's no change at all in the gaps between Asians and whites, who score fairly high, and blacks and Latinos, who are far behind.
Dropout Rate Drops for LAUSD The LA Unified School District cut its high-school dropout rate last year by a whopping 17%. Graduation increased by almost 8%. That's great news for an institution facing budget cuts and battles over education reform. Ramon Cortines is LAUSD's Superintendent.
LAUSD Slashes 1.6 Billion Dollars over Three Years Yesterday, the Los Angeles Unified School Board passed a $5.5 billion budget. That sounds like a lot, but the LAUSD is the nation’s second largest, and the operating budget’s been cut so much that 2200 teachers will have to be laid off, class sizes will increase and in coming years, it’s going to get worse.
LAUSD Votes for Layoffs The Los Angeles Unified School District is in for continued struggle over last night's decision to lay off more than 5000 people, including 3500 newer teachers, those with too little seniority to have earned job protection. Koreatown's Del Olmo Elementary School will lose almost two-thirds of its teachers, despite a surge in test scores last year. Roman Cortines is the Superintendent who once warned that he might resign if cuts weren't made.
LAUSD Issues Report Cards on Schools "I want both the bad and good, and I don't want it sugarcoated." That's what the new superintendent Ray Cortines told the LA Times about the one-page report cards LA Unified is sending out today. The idea is to tell parents how well or how badly their children's schools are doing. This change from past practice comes at a time when school districts face massive cuts because Sacramento can't get its financial act together.
Charter Schools Chart a Course onto LAUSD Campuses Eight years ago, California voters approved Proposition 39 which lowered the majority needed to pass bonds for school construction. It also required that public school districts accommodate charter schools—and treat them equally with traditional schools. Since then, the charter movement has exploded and thousands of students need more space. In April, LA Unified agreed that 39 charter schools could share space on existing campuses. But that created a backlash—from South Los Angeles to Echo Park to the San Fernando Valley. The District then withdrew its offer to 7 of those 39 charter schools.
Mayor (finally) Partners Up with LAUSD The courts vetoed Mayor Villaraigosa’s bid for direct power over all of LA’s public schools . But a newly elected school board majority has agreed to what’s called The Partnership for Los Angeles Schools . The Mayor will get to run two low-performing high schools along with the elementary and middle schools that feed them. Partnership schools will plan curriculum, recruit staff and control their own budgets. Governing councils will include principals, teachers, staff members, students and parents.
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.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
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?