June 7

UPCOMING PROGRAM NOTE:  Mark your calendar and begin reading the next title for the ALOED book club.  Date:  Wednesday, July 17th.  Time: 6 p.m.  Book:  Brain Rules by Dr. John Medina.  For all the details and to RSVP:  http://alumni.oxy.edu/s/956/index.aspx?sid=956&pgid=1951&gid=1&cid=4538&ecid=4538&post_id=0&authkey=ibPCEUnNRQlwH%2fEXrXjAHk1ytgmfAyb01PMcbDgN2Q8KGuY2V%2b82vw%3d%3d
 “It is very nearly impossible to become an educated person in a country so distrustful of the independent mind.”
―    James Baldwin
   No Child Left Behind has been up for Congressional reauthorization for the past 6 years.  This week two bills were introduced in the Senate to accomplish this, one by a Democrat and one by a Republican.  Needless to say, they take very different approaches to how the federal government should deal with education according to this story in The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/05/education/harkin-schools-legislation.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=1&
   The LAUSD board is slated to discuss and adopt a budget for the 2013-14 school year in two weeks.  A meeting was held Tuesday to give stakeholders an opportunity to make their wishes heard in light of the increased funding for schools as a result of the voter passage of Prop. 30 in November.  The L.A. Daily News describes some of the things people wanted the money to be spent on:  http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_23389822/lausd-board-hears-pleas-boost-campus-hiring-academic?source=rss&utm_source=feedly
   Are some online classes taught by for-profit companies leading to the privatization of the UC, CSU and Community College systems in California?  This article from the East Bay Express highlights SB 520 in the state legislature that might do just that:  http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/privatizing-uc-instruction/Content?oid=3569100&utm_source=feedly  How do you feel about expanding online offerings at the state’s colleges and universities?  A newly released USC Dornsife/Times Poll of 1,500 registered California voters in yesterday’s L.A. Times found that 59% were in favor of increasing the number of courses offered.  Those figures and others related to the topic can be perused here:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-poll-higher-education-20130606,0,1579824.story
   The chancellor of the Washington, D.C., Public Schools (DCPS) is not convinced that a series of education reforms recommended for her schools will actually be helpful for students.  The Washington Post lays out the details of the changes that are being considered:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/henderson-not-convinced-that-dc-education-plan-will-help-schools/2013/06/04/820a0adc-cd44-11e2-8f6b-67f40e176f03_story.html?wprss=rss_education
   Gov. Brown has his Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) for radically changing how schools are funded in California (The “Ed News” has covered this issue extensively).  Now Colorado has come up with a unique way to fund its schools as described by this story from the SI&A CABINET REPORT:  http://www.siacabinetreport.com/articles/viewarticle.aspx?article=3841
   San Diego’s NPR station KPBS  reports that the San Diego Unified School District was one of only 6 large urban districts in the nation that was able to reduce the achievement gap between its Anglo and African-American students on AP test results:  This item highlights a study from the Broad Foundation that includes the data this brief story covers  You can read the piece and/or listen to the segment (1:12 minutes) here:  http://www.kpbs.org/news/2013/jun/05/san-diego-schools-narrow-black-white-gap-ap-tests/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+kpbs%2Flocal+%28KPBS+News%3A+Local+Headlines%29
   Valerie Strauss looks at the latest  statistics on high school graduation rates among the 50 largest school districts in the nation.  The good news–the numbers are increasing especially among minority students.  The bad news–check out where the LAUSD placed (hint: it wasn’t last):  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/06/06/u-s-high-school-graduation-rate-sees-big-minority-gains-analysis/
   Last month the “Ed News” highlighted the controversy over the granting of Title I anti-poverty funds to the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies (LACES).  Now the L.A. Daily News reports that 4 more LAUSD campuses have had their funding restored after a re-audit of the student applications:  http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_23398597/4-more-lausd-schools-qualify-federal-anti-poverty?source=rss&utm_source=feedly
   Even more financial woes for the monetarily challenged LAUSD.  Yesterday’s L.A. Times describes how the district is offering $17 million to a second group of students who were caught up in the teacher abuse scandal at Miramonte Elementary School:  http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-lausd-miramonte-victims-20130605,0,7528722.story
   The “Ed News” recently highlighted a post from Valerie Strauss in which she reprinted a blog that argued against the idea of ability grouping for students.  Strauss followed up on that by reprinting another blog that rebuts that argument.  You can read this one here:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/06/07/why-grouping-students-by-ability-makes-sense/
   And finally, Ben Austin, Executive director of the group Parent Revolution, the one leading the charge on the use of the “parent trigger” to take over public schools wrote an “open letter to Dr. Diane Ravitch” for the Huffington Post.  In it, he excoriated her for criticizing his group’s action in removing the principal at Weigand Avenue Elementary School (LAUSD):  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ben-austin/a-kids-first-dialogue-ope_b_3393062.html  Ravitch was quick to respond to his missive:  http://dianeravitch.net/2013/06/07/my-reply-to-ben-austins-open-letter-to-me/
Dave Alpert (’71) Chief Commissar

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