Ed News- June 12, 2012

And now to the news.  An article in Saturday’s L.A. Times “Sports” section highlights some LAUSD statistics that demonstrate that students who participate in organized athletics have better attendance, higher GPAs and do better on standardized tests: http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-0609-athletes-grades-20120609,0,7206631.column

   When states face budget cuts one of the first places they look to trim is education.  When those state revenues begin to turn around do they promptly restore the money to education?  You might think so, but not in this day and age.  Kansas, for instance, reduced per pupil spending by around 12% since 2008 to help balance its budget.  When a small surplus appeared this year guess where the money went?  If you guessed education, you were WRONG!  Check out this extended article to see where funding is first being restored in a number of states around the country when revenues rise: http://www.remappingdebate.org/print?content=node%2F1298
   Many people believe that the Brown v Board of Education Supreme Court ruling in 1954 lead to the end of segregated schools in the U.S.  The fact of the matter is that most experts see our schools as more segregated than during the late 1960s as described in this article from the Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/06/schools-are-more-segregated-today-than-during-the-late-1960s/258348/
   This item from Education Week makes a cogent argument for addressing both academic AND financial needs of students if we want to reduce the achievement gap and regain our preeminent position of educational excellence among other nations.  It includes a list of some of the more successful programs that cities have adopted to improve college readiness: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/06/13/35puriefoy.h31.html?tkn=LXVFK9d0x7cZipls1CFJc%2BBg4xClerolcqKa&cmp=clp-edweek
   Many schools in both the UC and CSU systems are being pushed to eliminate/consolidate certain degree programs that have
less than 10 students enrolled in order to save the money for more popular ones.  The details are explained in this piece in The San Francisco Chronicle: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/06/10/BACO1OV4HS.DTL#ixzz1xVN8ag97
   Is the federal government considering shifting monies from class-size reduction grants into ones that seek “new pathways” to teaching (i.e. Teach for America)?  Why would they even be contemplating such a move?  Find some answers in this blog from the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leonie-haimson/class-size-budget-cuts_b_1581885.html?ref=education
   The pendulum of school reform seems to constantly swing back-and-forth and back again.  One trend is in and touted as the latest panacea only to see it quietly phased out as the newest idea takes center stage.  Sound familiar?  The San Francisco Chronicle tries to catch you up on what’s “in” and what’s “out” and, possibly, what’s “on the way:” http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/06/10/MNDQ1OTUIR.DTL#ixzz1xVMAGZsC
   In a story the “Ed News” has been following closely, an L.A. County Superior Court judge issues a tentative ruling Monday, in a case filed by a community group, that the LAUSD must use student test scores as part of its teacher evaluation process.  You can read all the details in this story from today’s L.A. Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-teacher-evals-20120612,0,2026996.story  John Fensterwald, in his blog at TOP-Ed, also commented on this possibly far-reaching ruling: http://toped.svefoundation.org/2012/06/12/student-scores-must-be-factored-in-evaluations/
   Today the LAUSD board voted to postpone a parcel tax proposal slated for the November ballot that it had tentatively approved in March.  Later on today the board was scheduled to vote on the agreement reached with UTLA on Friday that includes 10 furlough days and shortens the school year by 5 days in order to save as many positions as possible. Union members are scheduled to begin voting on the measure tomorrow.  This article from the Times includes a short video (2:02 minutes) from sister station KTLA channel 5: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/06/la-unified-parcel-tax-postponed-board-set-to-vote-on-furlough-days.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+lanowblog+%28L.A.+Now%29
   Pres. Obama has been in office for nearly 3 1/2 years and Education Week takes the opportunity to review his policies on K-12 education as the November election approaches.  This piece includes a very short (1:17 minute) video summarizing some of his positions: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/06/13/35obama_ep.h31.html?tkn=WVVFdZuBZ9JBzzwBJXwOkHrn%2BPueUTKKqceY&cmp=clp-edweek
   And finally, the latest research continues to show a persistent achievement gap between males and females in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects according to this report from Education Week: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2012/06/evidence_persists_of_stem_achi.html
 
Dave Alpert (’71)
Chief Commissar
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