Katie Bonfiglio, a 9th grade English Teacher at Arlington High School is part of a nationwide push underway to dramatically improve teacher training and evaluation through recording classes, then reviewing critiquing the footage. Arlington uses video routinely in teacher training and evaluation. Here she teaches her (Michelle Pemberton/The Star)

California study finds harm for some in repeating algebra, questions whether it benefits anyone

By Jill Barshay

One of the most often repeated courses in U.S. high schools is algebra. Teachers and school leaders understandably worry whether a student who can’t solve basic equations should move on in math, to geometry or advanced algebra. So the student takes algebra again. Sometimes, even students with B’s in algebra are asked to repeat it […]

Pam Jones of Learning in Motion preschool leads children in an exercise that incorporates movement with academics, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, in Redding, Calif. (AP Photo/Record Searchlight, Andreas Fuhrmann)

New bill would significantly expand state preschool in California

By Lillian Mongeau

Another bill proposing to significantly expand state-funded preschool has been introduced in California. Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, is the author of AB 47, which would expand the state’s full-day preschool program for low-income children so that all eligible children are granted a spot. Currently, the program enrolls about 140,000 3- and 4-year-old students from families […]

Parent activist Winter Hall talks about her daughter’s low-performing school at the Nov. 15 Parent Power convention in Los Angeles. (Photo: Parent Revolution)

Is this is what the next phase of the ‘parent trigger’ movement looks like?

By Brenda Iasevoli

The news earlier this month from the Los Angeles superintendent’s office was deceptively simple: “I remain committed to the community and expanded parent choice as it relates to the education of our children.” Implicit in that statement is a decision, one of the first from the newly installed schools’ chief Ramon Cortines, that could have […]


Unaccompanied minors bring hope, past trauma to American schools

By Lillian Mongeau

Brandon, 18 and a recent immigrant from Guatemala, jumped eagerly into a recent conversation exercise in his English language class. He was supposed to ask a classmate, “What color are your eyes?” With liquid brown eyes of his own, and carefully cultivated biceps, the Oakland International High School student had no intention of wasting this […]

Poor high schools in California lose 25 school days a year

By Jill Barshay

Students at extremely poor high schools in California on average lose roughly 25 more school days a year — almost 14 percent of the school year — than students at higher income schools do. Interruptions, substitute teachers and test prep account for a large portion of the lost instructional time, according to a UCLA study […]

Torlakson wins California superintendent race

By John Fensterwald

Tom Torlakson has won a second term as state superintendent of public instruction. The 65-year-old incumbent, a former veteran legislator, defeated Marshall Tuck, a former charter school executive who was little known outside of Los Angeles, 52.2 percent to 47.8 percent with 98 percent of precincts reporting.

Superintendent race turns on future of reform

By John Fensterwald

Spending in the race for California superintendent of public instruction has by far outstripped all other statewide races, including the campaign for governor. Although the superintendent has limited power, donors to incumbent Tom Torlakson and challenger Marshall Tuck are spending big sums to influence what they consider is at stake in this election: the direction of education reform.


Should wealthy towns be able to secede from higher-poverty, higher-minority school districts?

By Kyle Spencer

MALIBU, Calif. — For years, Craig Foster, a retired Wall Street executive turned public school activist, has been zipping up and down the Pacific Coast Highway seeking support for a split between Malibu, the mostly wealthy, mostly white city of beachfront bungalows and modernist mansions, and Santa Monica, the equally picturesque but less moneyed city […]

App details state superintendent race spending

By John C. Osborn

With less than two weeks to go before Election Day, the race for California state superintendent of public instruction has been fueled by a combined $24 million in total campaign spending for incumbent Tom Torlakson and candidate Marshall Tuck. Outside groups not affiliated with either candidate represent the bulk of that spending – close to $19.4 million on ads and mailers on behalf of the candidates.

Superintendent John Deasy is seen in this file photo before the start of a public hearing at the headquarters of the Los Angeles Unified School District. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

After months of turmoil, LA Schools Superintendent Deasy resigns

By Brenda Iasevoli

Los Angeles Unified School Superintendent John Deasy’s resignation Thursday ended weeks of speculation over whether the school board would oust him or he would leave the post of his own accord. “Needless to say this has been hard work, in fact exhausting work,” the beleaguered superintendent wrote in his resignation letter. “I have neglected my […]