Kat Czujko

How we can use the spotlight of Vergara to raise teaching standards

By Kat Czujko

I was in my second year of teaching when an English teacher at my school told me that Maria could copy her reading summaries right out of the book since “at least she tried to do her homework.”  Now 18, Maria is taking 9th grade math for the fourth time and barely has enough credits […]

Emmanuel Angeles, raises his hand to be called on while doing a worksheet in an English Language Learner summer school class at the Cordova Villa Elementary School in Rancho Cordova, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

What urban districts need to know to get their English language learners up to Common Core standards

By Emmanuel Felton

California’s large urban school districts are failing to consistently provide quality instruction to students with limited English language proficiency, according to Patricia Gardara, co-director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. “The large urban districts tend to have highly disproportionate poverty, transiency, and urban problems, which must be dealt with in addition to the regular […]

Second-grade teacher Vickie Boudouris goes over a work sheet her students were doing in an English Language Learner summer school class at the Cordova Villa Elementary School, Wednesday, June 12, 2013 in Rancho Cordova, Calif. File photo. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Common Core can help English learners in California, new study says

By Pat Wingert

The rigorous new Common Core standards represent both a daunting challenge and a promising pathway that could help close the achievement gap for the growing number of American students who enter school knowing little or no English. So concludes a new yearlong study released today by the California-based arm of Education Trust, a nonpartisan research […]

Carrie Bakken

Vergara v. California highlights the need for a teacher-powered educational strategy

By Carrie Bakken

The Vergara v. California ruling that every student has a Constitutional right to learn from an effective teacher has been labeled bold — but it actually mirrors the counterproductive strategy long dominating reform efforts that ignores teachers’ professional expertise and then blames them for poor student outcomes. This decision pits unions against reformers. However, we’d […]

Ronald Bracamontes, 8, Christian Zaragosa, 9, and Jocelyn Buenrostro, 9, teamed up to experiment with paper airplane designs during a summer school program at Romero-Cruz Elementary in Santa Ana Unified. The team conducted nine tests on three designs to see which one generated the smoothest landings.

Will ‘creative’ and ‘hands on’ summer school foster a love of learning?

By William Diepenbrock

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Nine-year-old Sarahy Lopez’s silvery singing voice washed over the audience as her Goldilocks declared “so sorry” and “please give me a break.” But her pleas were slow to sway Baby Bear (Noe Lopez, 7) who growled, “I’d rather stay angry and eat her instead.” A few streets over, Lupita Martinez, 6, […]

COMMUNITY COLLEGE BACHELOR'S DEGREES/METRO

California OKs 4-year degrees at 2-year colleges

By Joanne Jacobs

Nursing students, from left, Caroline Pantaleon, Yang Liu, Melody Saechao and Christine Crivello practice inserting an IV in Saul Jones’ nursing skills lab class at Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Calif. The college could begin offering bachelor’s degrees in nursing. (Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area News Group) ( Kristopher Skinner ) As early as next year, […]

Devon Sanford dropped out of school the summer before ninth grade to take care of his sick mother, making him one of the thousands of California middle school dropouts who go largely unnoticed.

Thousands of California kids don’t get past middle school

By Sarah Butrymowicz

LOS ANGELES – Devon Sanford’s mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer when he was in the eighth grade. After barely finishing at Los Angeles’s Henry Clay Middle School, he never enrolled in high school. Instead, he spent what should have been his freshman year caring for his mother and waiting for the police to show […]

(AP Photo/David Mercer, File)

Why Los Angeles sends failing students on to the next grade

By Molly Callister

When Alberto Cortes was held back in fourth grade because of low math skills, he thought his world had come to an end. “The first day of going back to fourth grade, I see all my friends with new teachers there in fifth grade,” Cortes said. “I started crying because I had to do fourth […]

Louis VanderMolen Fundamental Elementary fourth-graders Jose Ramirez, left, and Andy Rodriguez read stories as part of a daily lesson. Students at the Corona-Norco Unified school use a program that delivers challenging fiction and non-fiction stories regardless of their reading level. Students advance by correctly answering quizzes after each story.

California’s new school funding system stumbles into its first year

By William Diepenbrock

One California educator compares keeping up with the rules in California’s historic new school funding system to a cat chasing a laser pointer’s beam – a shifting target always just out of reach. Educators say the state was slow to roll out rules for the system, which gives schools their first significant authority over spending […]

Feds back English learner lawsuit against state

By John Fensterwald

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California has found an ally in the U.S. Department of Justice for its lawsuit charging that the state abdicated its obligation to ensure all students classified as English learners get extra instructional services to become fluent in English. The lawsuit, filed in April 2013, is set for a one-day trial next week in Los Angeles County Superior Court.