May 1

“There are few things more pathetic than those who have lost their curiosity and sense of adventure, and who no longer care to learn.”  ―    Gordon B. Hinckley,    Way to Be!: 9 Rules For Living the Good Life
   The national competition for the Academic Decathlon was held Thursday and Friday in Minneapolis and for the first time two teams from the same state were allowed to compete.  California was represented by 2 LAUSD high schools that are located just miles apart:  Granada Hills Charter and El Camino Real Charter and they were both favorites to win the overall title.  This story from Saturday’s L.A. Times describes their friendly rivalry:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-decathlon-la-20130427,0,4102263.story  And the winner is . . . .   Well, you’ll just have to read this follow-up piece from the Sunday Times to see who placed first and second: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0428-decathlon-winners-20130428,0,3320470.story
   Remember that free LAUSD breakfast program the “Ed News” highlighted a while ago?  It may be on the chopping block as a tug-of-way breaks out over it and other funding priorities between the superintendent, the school board, UTLA and other district unions.  Need some help sorting this all out?  Check out this story from Saturday’s Times:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-classroom-breakfast-20130427,0,4152979.story
This late-breaking story appeared on the L.A. Times web site this evening about a parent rally to save the classroom breakfast program in the LAUSD:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-breakfast-classroom-20130501,0,6722679.story
   “I left my heart, in San Fran . . . cisco.”  Remember what famous crooner belted out that hit song?  Tony Bennett.  He and his wife were in Los Angeles on Friday to launch a program in this city as part of their Exploring the Arts foundation.  The same paper has the details:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-tony-bennett-20130427,0,2305244.story

   An opinion piece in The New York Times takes a detailed look at the growing gap in school achievement between children of rich parents and those from middle-class  and poor families.  The author suggests when this began and provides ample proof of why it exists.  Several suggestions are offered for alleviating the problem.  The article is titled “No Rich Child Left Behind:”  http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/27/no-rich-child-left-behind/
   For his column in Sunday’s Times Steve Lopez visits the Valley Academy of the Arts and Sciences (LAUSD) in Granada Hills to answer the question: “iPads in School: A Toy or A Tool?”  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0428-lopez-ipads-20130428,0,197667.column
   A lot of educational “reformers” talk a good game but when one looks carefully at the numbers the rhetoric often does not match the reality which is the topic of this blog reprinted by Valerie Strauss.  The author looks at what’s really been happening in Washington, D.C., New York and Chicago as opposed to what leaders in those cities have been preaching:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/04/29/the-gap-between-school-reform-rhetoric-and-reality-in-3-cities/
   There is a growing trend toward the collection of all sorts of student data.  Not just test scores but also personal and what might be considered private information.  This item from Occupy.com takes a look at this little-known issue, who is behind it and what it portends for the future:  http://www.occupy.com/article/exposed-how-murdoch-bill-gates-and-big-corporations-are-data-mining-our-schools
   In his column in yesterday’s L.A. Times George Skelton casts a skeptical eye toward Gov. Brown’s proposed funding formula for state schools.  The piece is titled “Gov. Brown as Robin Hood:”  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-cap-education-20130429,0,336863.column
   Diane Ravitch picks up the banner for teachers who are fighting the “take-over” of Crenshaw High (LAUSD) by reprinting their letter that accuses Supt. Deasy of “killing off Crenshaw High:”  http://dianeravitch.net/2013/04/30/teachers-deasy-killing-off-crenshaw-high-school/
     Valerie Strauss reprints another interesting blog from Carol Burris, a principal  from South Side High School in New York and a leading critic of standardized tests.  The piece is titled “Have Standardized Tests Really Helped Kids Learn More?”  and looks at the growing resistance to the exams:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/04/30/have-standardized-tests-really-helped-kids-learn-more/
   Another late-breaking story, this one posted at 9 p.m. this evening on the L.A. Times web site, describes how a company plans to begin offering online courses in education and teacher training.  Is nothing sacrosanct?  http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-coursera-teachers-20130430,0,7346994.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+lanowblog+%28L.A.+Now%29
  And finally, a group of 7 from Oxy, Nancy Kuechle, Rae McCormick, Darlene Wilson, Larry Lawrence, Marilyn and Dave Carpenter and Dave Alpert attended the UCLA Community School open house yesterday.  The school opened in 2009 on the site of the old Ambassador Hotel where Robert Kennedy was assassinated in 1968.  It’s part of LAUSD and draws from the local community of mid-Wilshire and Koreatown.  The student body is predominantly Latino (78%) and Asian (15%) and low-income (82%)  with 55% rated as “limited English proficient.  Over 1000 students and 42 teachers are included in the K-12 program.  The open house included a introduction, history and overview of the school from several administrators.  Two students from the high school talked about what the school meant to them and then the group was able to visit a couple of classrooms.  The activity ended with a Q & A before the Oxy contingent gathered for lunch at a local eatery.  The school has a number of innovative programs all developed in close collaboration with the district, union, community and UCLA.  For more information check out http://cs.gseis.ucla.edu/

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