California students scoring better, but still way behind

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California students’ test scores are climbing at the highest rate in the nation. But the improvement underscores just how far students in this state have to go. The latest numbers show that only 33 percent of fourth graders scored at or above the proficient level in math. Just 27 percent ranked that well in reading. For eighth graders, less than 30 percent scored proficient in math and reading. Those numbers are some of the lowest in the country. All in all, California ranked 45th on the tests…L.A. Unified has lost another round in its battle to keep teacher performance ratings secret. An appeals court has refused to consider a lower court ruling ordering the school district to turn over the information to the L.A. Times. The school district and the teacher’s union say that releasing performance ratings would violate the privacy of teachers. But the lower court agreed with the Times that’s the public’s right to the information outweighs those privacy concerns…A judge has thrown out the conviction of man who has spent man more than 30 years in prison for a West L.A. murder. The sister of the main witness in the case now says her sibling’s testimony was a lie. Kash Delano Register is expected to be released from prison in the coming days. The 53-year-old has steadfastly maintained his innocence during his decades behind bars…TRAINCalifornia’s High Speed Rail project continues to move forward – and it continues to cause controversy. The board overseeing the project has voted to adopt an alternate route through Kings County between Fresno and Bakersfield. The board says moving the route farther east will do less damage to the environment. But farm groups say the new route will be devastating to agriculture. Federal authorities will now weigh in on the decision…The chips are starting to fall in a controversy over a pair of DWP non-profits that have received tens of millions of dollars in ratepayer funds. A DWP manager responsible for explaining the role of the non-profits to the new DWP Board last month has been fired. His comments raised as many questions as they answered. The two non-profits have received more than $40 million since 2000. It’s unclear what work they have performed, however…And finally, Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly officially waded into the governor’s race just a couple of days ago. But he’s already landed in some controversy. An Assembly official says Donnelly is violating state law by using footage from the Assembly floor in a campaign video posted on YouTube. Donnelly is expected to receive a cease and desist notice today.