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Protesters, including Ari Schwartz, center, gather outside Jefferson Middle School in Washington, D.C., where Betsy DeVos paid her second visit as Education secretary.
Protesters, including Ari Schwartz, center, gather outside Jefferson Middle School in Washington, D.C., where Betsy DeVos paid her second visit as Education secretary. (Maria Danilova / AP)

On Friday, on her third day as President Trump's Education secretary, Betsy DeVos visited Jefferson Academy, a middle school in southwest Washington, D.C.

When she got there, she was surrounded by protesters from various parent groups, the local teachers union and the Movement 4 Black Lives. A video shows protesters blocking DeVos and her security detail as they shouted, "You do not represent anything that we stand for," and, "Shame, shame, shame."

During DeVos' confirmation process, many questioned her support for public schools. She had in the past called them a "dead end" and has spent years promoting school vouchers and charter schools. 

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The owner and operator behind a network of four Koreatown-area schools that authorities allege was actually a “pay-to-stay” immigration scheme pleaded guilty to federal charges Thursday, according to prosecutors.

Three people, including owner and headmaster Hee Sun “Leonard” Shim, 53, of Beverly Hills, were arrested in 2015 as authorities announced an indictment alleging that few of the hundreds of students enrolled actually attended the schools, and that many, in fact, lived out of state and had never set foot on campus.

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  • Higher Education
  • K-12
  • LAUSD
  • Charter Schools
Caltech is one of two schools behind Bat Bot.
Caltech is one of two schools behind Bat Bot. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, happy Friday and welcome to our look at education news across California and the nation. Did you see something interesting you think we should add? Leave a comment or send us a little tweet with a link.

Los Angeles

California

Tony Brown is the executive director of the nonprofit Heart of Los Angeles program.
Tony Brown is the executive director of the nonprofit Heart of Los Angeles program. (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

Few would expect the cacophony coming from the third floor of this plain white building off Wilshire Boulevard. In one room this evening, high school students on flutes and clarinets blaze through their warmup of scales and arpeggios before launching into a John Williams piece. Across the hallway, middle school string players run through part of Stravinsky’s “The Firebird.”

For these students, the majority of whom live in poverty, an arts education is a luxury — one possible only through Heart of Los Angeles, or HOLA, a nonprofit for youth in the Rampart community. 

  • Higher Education
The Brickyard commercial development in in Playa Vista.
The Brickyard commercial development in in Playa Vista. (Loyola Marymount University)

Loyola Marymount University is opening a new campus in Playa Vista, expanding its growing presence on the Westside and in Silicon Beach, school officials announced Thursday. 

The Jesuit university, which in recent years has dramatically built its programs and local partnerships in film and technology, will house its new campus in the Brickyard, a new 425,300-square-foot commercial development in the 12100 block of West Waterfront Drive that also will lease office and retail space to other tenants.

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It was late in the school day, but the students sat in silence, fidgety yet focused.

"Raise your hands if you've ever felt lonely," Anthony Owliaie, a therapist and presenter, asked of the several hundred kids gathered in the auditorium of Eagle Rock Junior/Senior High School.

Nearly all hands went up. "Me!" "I do!" "All the time!" broke the silence.

  • K-12
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

South Pasadena High School has won the academic decathlon competition for Los Angeles County for the third consecutive year, officials announced Thursday.

The school now advances to the California Academic Decathlon, which will be held near the end of March in Sacramento. Seven additional county teams from high schools in various districts also will compete at the state level because of their high scores. In order of point totals, they are: Edgewood High in West Covina, West High in Torrance, Mark Keppel High in Alhambra, Redondo Union High, Beverly Hills High, Alhambra High and El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera.

The top three individual scorers were Benjamin Lin of Edgewood, Nathaniel Lyons of Edgewood and Anthony Chen of South Pasadena.

  • Betsy DeVos
  • K-12
(Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press)

It was frustrating, but generally speaking, I think I acquitted myself very well.

DeVos gave an exclusive interview to the Detroit News, a newspaper in her home state.

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  • K-12
  • Charter Schools
(Campaign mailer from Parent Teacher Alliance)

The PTA, the real PTA, issued what it called an "information alert" Thursday about campaign mailers in L.A. school board races that it believes are improperly trafficking on its long-established name and reputation.

Say PTA and most people will think Parent Teacher Assn., which is known for organizing parents at schools, usually for fundraising and student activities. The national organization founded in 1897, and its state affiliates, are expressly nonpartisan and apolitical.   

The political-action committee that has raised hackles calls itself Parent Teacher Alliance. It is an arm of California Charter Schools Assn. Advocates, which has endorsed candidates for three L.A. school-board seats. The charter group has made use of this name in other campaigns this year and also in a previous L.A. school board election. 

(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Joseph Alan Kikuchi, 57, a former girls' basketball coach at Mark Keppel High School in Alhambra, has been sentenced to five years in state prison for sexually abusing a team member.

Kikuchi pleaded no contest in January to 23 counts of sexual abuse of a minor. He was convicted of abusing the girl over the course of seven months while she was 15 and 16 years old, though Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Jared Moses said during Thursday's sentencing hearing that the relationship started even earlier.

Moses sentenced Kikuchi after a two-hour hearing at the Alhambra Courthouse. Prosecutor Rena Durrant read a letter from the victim's father detailing the effect Kikuchi's abuse had on his daughter and their family. She showed the judge photos of gifts that Kikuchi had bought the girl, including a promise ring and Victoria's Secret underwear.