Sachiko Miyaji was one of five teachers in the pilot evaluation program last year at Melrose Elementary School in Los Angeles.
(Photo: Carlos A. Moreno / The Center for Investigative Reporting)

California is test case for new front in teacher wars

By Brenda Iasevoli

On February 11 in California Superior Court in Los Angeles, Beatriz Vergara, 15, testified to enduring a string of bad public-school teachers. A sixth-grade math teacher slept in class. A seventh-grade history teacher told Latino students they would “clean houses for a living.” Aseventh-grade science teacher called female students “stick figure” and “whore.” Beatriz, her […]

Source: Excellencia in Education

State among the worst in awarding degrees to Hispanics may surprise you

By Jon Marcus

With a population more than twice as Hispanic as the national average, California has a lower-than-average proportion of Hispanics with college or university educations, and no institution among the top five for awarding them degrees, according to a new study. The state is 38 percent Hispanic, compared to the national average of 17 percent. But […]

CREDO translated the statistical results of academic achievement between similar students in Los Angeles Unified district and charter schools, as measured by standard deviations, into additional learning days. Charter school students showed significant gains in reading and math in all grades, but middle school math showed the biggest gain, the equivalent of 158 extra days of learning, nearly a full year. Source: CREDO’s “Charter School Performance in Los Angeles Unified.”

Los Angeles charter schools post big learning gains

By John Fensterwald

Students in independent charter schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District significantly outperform similar students in traditional schools in the district, according to a report released last week by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University. The gains were particularly large for schools serving low-income Hispanic students.

Sixth-grade teachers Erica Silva (left) and Allison Pazar lead a project on how to mummify a chicken as part of a social studies unit on ancient Egypt at Oscar Romero Charter Middle School in central Los Angeles. There’s plenty of time for hands-on lessons like these thanks to Romero’s 10-hour school day. (Photo: Brenda Iasevoli)

School success part of broader strategy to target urban poverty in Los Angeles Promise Zone

By Brenda Iasevoli

LOS ANGELES – Most days, you can find Melissa Estrada at Monseñor Oscar Romero Charter Middle School in Central Los Angeles where her son Angel Hernandez is in eighth grade. While Angel is in school, Estrada has taken classes to learn how to track his attendance and grades online and talk to him about drugs […]

Sixth-graders in Chuck Yeh's classroom at Fairmont School share their thoughts during a group work session. (Photo: Chuck Yeh)

Which is worse? A California district makes a tough choice between No Child Left Behind and Obama education policies

By Sarah Amandolare

SANGER, California – At a table strewn with papers, four eighth-grade boys with gelled hair and flashy sneakers comb through lyrics, discussing everything from girls to grammar. Only one remains silent, nodding lazily. When they reach the line, “You were my pills, you were my thrills,” the unofficial leader shouts: “That’s a metaphor!” He asks the silent […]

The nine plaintiffs, including Beatriz Vergara, who brought suit against the state. This slide, without names, was shown in court in opening arguments Monday. Some of the students attended the session.

California’s students get their day in court

By Dan Weisberg

California students are guaranteed a quality education by the state constitution. California teachers are guaranteed a host of protections under state law. Is it possible that those guarantees sometimes conflict with one another? And if they do, what’s the solution? These questions are before a judge as we speak.

Chrissy Guzman, left, and Lori Yuan, center, walk out of their arraignment hearing on Jan. 13,

2014 in Victorville, Calif. Both women pleaded not guilty to charges related to vandalizing Desert

Trails Elementary School days before a charter operator took over the campus in the summer 

of 2013. Guzman and Yuan had spearheaded the opposition to the parent trigger campaign that 

forced the conversion. (James Quigg, Daily Press)

Parent-trigger vandalism case may cost woman city post

By Natasha Lindstrom

A Southern California woman may be ousted from her city leadership post for allegedly vandalizing a classroom after losing a political fight against the so-called parent trigger law. Lori Yuan, who chairs the planning commission in the Mojave Desert city of Adelanto, Calif., joined fellow parent Chrissy Guzman in leading the opposition to a campaign […]

Claudia Borquez, left, and Alexis Trejo participate in a robotics “apprenticeship” at Elmhurst Community Prep in Oakland. Credit: Citizen Schools.

Oakland middle school’s 9-hour school day is model program

By Susan Frey

Ed Source On a recent Thursday afternoon in Ashur Bratt’s class in Oakland, about 20 middle school students stood tall on chairs and tables and flung their arms out from their sides, looking very pleased with themselves. “How do you feel?” Bratt asked as students raised their arms, competing to be called on. “Ecstatic!” one […]

Cynthia Ramirez, left, reads a book after school with her two children, who both attend the newly overhauled Desert Trails Preparatory Academy in Adelanto, Calif. Her kindergartner son showed off his green sticker for good behavior that day by placing it on his forehead. Ramirez is a leader of the Desert Trails Parent Union that ran the parent trigger campaign to turn the Adelanto School District's school over to a charter operator after years of low test scores and parent complaints. (Natasha Lindstrom, Hechinger Report)

With hostility over, parent-trigger school strives to improve

By Natasha Lindstrom

ADELANTO, Calif. — Chrissy Guzman chucked the old bottle of paint across the classroom, aiming for the large trash bin that the custodian had wheeled in earlier that summer day. As she and fellow parent volunteer Lori Yuan cleared out the PTA meeting room, the two mothers vented their frustration over the looming takeover of […]

Aggressive public relations campaign amplifies courtroom battle against teacher work rules

By Louis Freedberg

The potentially game-changing Vergara v. California lawsuit, which attacks key aspects of California law on how teachers are evaluated and fired, opened in Los Angeles last week and has been accompanied by an aggressive public relations campaign unmatched by the opposing side – the State of California and its teachers unions.