Teacher infusion. L.A. Unified will hire more than 700 new teachers as a result of $20 million donation from the Arkansas-based Walton Family Foundation. The money will pay for teachers nationwide – but L.A. will get more than any other city.
Teach for America is the recipient of the donation. The New York nonprofit says the gift will help it recruit and train more than 4,000 recent college graduates. The young teachers will be assigned to nine regions, including New Orleans, Washington, D.C. and Detroit. But Los Angeles will get the biggest share.
If history is a guide, most of those teachers will work at Charter Schools. The L.A. Times reports that in LAUSD, more than 90-percent of the new educators backed by Teach for America last year found jobs in charters.
The Walton Family Foundation is funded by members of the family that founded Walmart. The foundation has been a big supporter of charter schools. Walmart has opposed unionization of its stores, and most charters are non-union. The foundation is also an advocate for “school choice,” which includes government vouchers to help pay for private school tuition.
Teach for America calls itself a politically neutral organization. L.A. Times
Abuse fallout. L.A. County is firing two social workers and two supervisors following the death of an 8-year-old boy who’d been left with his family despite warnings that he was being abused. Gabriel Fernandez of Palmdale was hospitalized May 22nd with a cracked skull and other injuries. He died two days later. Prosecutors say the boy’s mother stood by as her boyfriend beat the child. Both are charged with murder. Two social workers and two supervisors were placed on desk duty after he died. The Department of Children and Family Services says the four have been issued “letters of intent to discharge.” They have 10 days to respond. They can request a hearing or appeal. L.A. Times
Carson contamination. The city of Carson has declared a local emergency stemming from the contamination of a housing tract. The move increases the pressure on Shell Oil to speed up plans for cleaning the site. It’s been five years since the contamination was discovered at the tract, which sits atop a former oil tank facility. Since then, residents have been warned not to eat fruit or vegetables grown in their gardens, and to minimize contact with the soil. The city hopes the emergency declaration will compel the company to finish its cleanup immediately. Mayor Jim Deer says Shell should buy the 285 homes in the tract. Shell officials say regulators have found no imminent health threats in the community. KTLA
Academy pioneer. Marketing executive Cheryl Boone Isaacs is the new president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She becomes the first African-American president and the first woman to hold the job since 1983. Boone Isaacs served as Academy first vice president during the past year and she produced the 2012 Governors Awards. Boone Isaacs heads CBI Enterprises, where she has consulted on “The Call,” “The Artist,” “The King’s Speech” and other films. She previously served as president of theatrical marketing for New Line Cinema. The Hollywood Reporter
Glendale memorial. Over the objections of some Japanese-Americans, Glendale city leaders yesterday unveiled a statue dedicated to the memory of Korea’s comfort women – young women and girls forced into sexual slavery during World War II. Glendale officials say the statue was conceived to show solidarity with its sister cities in Korea. It depicts a teenage girl sitting in a chair with clenched fists and bare feet. A second chair sits empty. Historians say that as many as 200,000 comfort women – not just Koreans, but Chinese, Taiwanese and others – were kidnapped by the Japanese military. Some Japanese say comfort women did not exist, or that their stories were exaggerated. L.A. Daily News
Blue streak. To call the L.A. Dodgers hot would be a major understatement. A walk-off 3-2 victory over the New York Yankees last night at Chavez Ravine gave the team its 27th win in its last 33 games. The streak is the Dodgers best in more than 50 years and it has vaulted the club from last to first in the National League West standings. The Dodgers’ resurgence has been led by great pitching and the hitting of rookie sensation Yasiel Puig and veterans Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez The Dodgers made some news off the field yesterday as well – signing former San Francisco ace reliever Brian Wilson. Known as “The Beard” for his voluminous, jet black facial hair, Wilson has been injured and hasn’t played so far this season. BleacherReport.com