Judge Rolf Treu has issued his final judgment in the case of Beatriz Vergara v. the State of California affirming his tentative decision that five state statutes regarding tenure and teacher employment violate the state's constitution. The appeals process now begins. The state and the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers have 60 days to decide whether to appeal. It is expected that they will.
After disclosures of possible improprieties in the negotiation and letting of contracts, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy has halted purchases of Apple iPads under a $30-million contract that was to be the first round of a $1-billion program. Now that the district has hit the reset button on the troubled program, it's time to learn from experience. The real lesson here isn't about iPads; it's about managing through contract.
The English Language Learner lawsuit ruled upon August 12 by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant probably won't grab the attention of Silicon Valley billionaires the way the Vergara suit has, but it's still a big deal. EL students make up about a quarter of the state's student population, and it's important to understand who they are.
Everyone's talking about Vergara but now there's another lawsuit rattling the California education system, this one involving English Language Learners. On August 3, a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge ruled that ELs were being denied an adequate education. The remedies sought could reshape how language learners are monitored.
Teacher-led schools are often defined by what they don't have: a conventional administrator. At the Mission Hill School in Boston, the subject of a PBS Newshour report on Monday, the school as a whole makes decisions and the principal doesn't even have a proper office. Though still rare, these schools carry valuable lessons about how to expand responsibility and authority for teachers. Yet, the real payoff occurs in how students step up and take responsibility for their own learning.
Last week's election in Los Angeles settled—at least for a few months—the question of who is going to be "on the bus" at L.A. Unified. So, as the school district welcomes George McKenna to the horseshoe shaped board table, let's talk about the process of building a new bus. For the last 30 years, at least, reformers have tried to reinvent public schooling in the City of Angels. None has succeeded, and virtually all their plans have been built around the same four elements. But their implementation has tended to get things backward.
Steve Barr Tries to Bridge Union-Reformer Divide in Reboot of California's 'Democrats for Education Reform'
Steve Barr has organizing in his DNA, and he, along with retired union leader Joe Boyd, have announced an effort to recreate the California chapter of Democrats for Education Reform as a union-friendly environment. They want to go beyond wedge issues and toward big picture ideas that have broad support. But just getting used to saying pro-union and DFER in the same sentence is a stretch.
Tuesday, voters will go to the polls in Los Angeles to elect a member in school board District #1. The race between retired school administrator George McKenna and aspiring politician Alex Johnson has turned negative and nasty. It's enough to make you think that there must be a better way. Maybe, just maybe, some political energy could be directed toward capacity building rather than regime politics.
Readers have asked us how to keep up with what's happening in California. Reading 'On California,' and following us on Twitter, is a good way, the best in our estimation. But what do we read? And what do we recommend to our readers? Here's an incomplete and changing list.
I saw the Roger Ebert homage movie, Life Itself, and came away thinking about both Roger and the Daily Illini, the student newspaper that formed our rite of passage into adulthood.