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.


Growing pains: Can disruptive innovation benefit students?

By Michael Horn and Richard Whitmire

Why do organizations struggle so much with the innovator’s dilemma? It’s not hard to grasp. Kodak, DEC, Sears, Xerox and Bucyrus Erie saw their empires fade because when disruptive innovations appeared, they did not look like opportunities that made sense to chase. For example, with profit margins of film/processing/printing so high, why would Kodak shift […]


Where are most of California’s tenured teachers?

By Sarah Butrymowicz

A California judge recently ruled that teacher tenure and other job protections violate a student’s right to education and, as such, are unconstitutional. The case, Vergara v. California, prompted speculation about what it would mean for other states where similar lawsuits might be filed. But what does the ruling – if it survives appeals – […]

At Weigand Elementary School in Los Angeles, 61 percent of parents signed a petition to replace the school's principal under California's controversial "parent trigger" law. (Photo courtesy Parent Revolution/Derrick Alan Everett)

Parent-trigger efforts: At a crossroads? A standstill? A dead end?

By Natasha Lindstrom

Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent John Deasy last month lauded a group of parents who formed their own union in an attempt to improve their children’s South Los Angeles school. The district leader toured the K-5 campus and listened to children rap about cells and sing “Let It Be” before signing a partnership […]

Jonas Chartock

Why this is California’s moment to help teachers, students grow

By Jonas Chartock

At its heart, the landmark June 11 Vergara ruling in California superior court was a decision in support of the notion that every child has a constitutional right to an excellent teacher. In finding California’s teacher tenure laws and “last in/first out” seniority rules unconstitutional, the judge found that such provisions create inequities in our schools that often […]

Shift to online testing drives California schools to close tech gap

By Pat Wingert

The largest field test in the country of new online assessments aligned to the Common Core got underway in California this spring, and as it speeds up the state’s transition to the rigorous new standards, it may also help close the digital divide. “This is the tipping point,” said Diane Hernandez, director of assessment development […]