1297 posts
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • K-12
(Jessica Kourkounis / Getty Images)

For students along the East Coast, Thursday is a snow day.

Per the Associated Press: "Schools were closed in most places, including New York City, Philadelphia and Boston, and government offices from the Philadelphia area to southern New England told most nonessential workers to stay home."

New England was expected to get between 8 and 12 inches of snow. 

  • K-12
  • For Parents
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Every year, students at more than 11,000 public schools across California sit down for up to eight hours of testing.

By the end of the 2016 school year, nearly 3.2 million students in grades 3 through 8 and 11 had completed computerized exams in math and English.

The purpose: to find out if California's kids are on track for college according to new learning standards known as the Common Core.

  • Betsy DeVos
  • K-12

Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway this week told CNN's Jake Tapper that the president is sticking to his guns on a campaign promise to repeal the Common Core.

"He wants to repeal the Common Core," she said in the wake of Betsy DeVos' confirmation. "He doesn't think that federal standards are better than local and state control."

There's just one hitch: He can't do that.

(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)
  1. School districts across California are using money from the Local Control Funding Formula on a variety of new programs — including a "manhood development" class.
  2. Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa has posted signs telling students they can't record lectures without permission. Why? A few months ago, a student secretly record a professor's controversial Trump comments.
  3. After a years-long accreditation saga, City College of San Francisco will be tuition-free for city residents.
  4. A discussion about racially isolated schools.
  5. The U.S. Department of Education's website for special education was down on Secretary Betsy DeVos' first day. But apparently the outage is just a glitch.
  6. As we wait to hear about DeVos' plans on school choice, the Texas legislature is considering a complex school voucher bill. And some public school parents in West Virginia are trying to end bible classes.
  7. Many Republicans run on the highly unlikely promise of abolishing the U.S. Department of Education. U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) has introduced a bill that would do just that.
  8. Finally, some news from across the pond: Teachers in two schools in the United Kingdom are testing out body cameras.
New Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks to staffers.
New Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks to staffers. (Shawn Thew / European Pressphoto Agency)

Barbara J. Miner is a Milwaukee-based writer who says she has covered that city's school voucher program for more than a quarter of a century.

In today's Los Angeles Times, she pens an op-ed with the headline: "If you care about our public schools and our democracy, beware of Betsy DeVos and her vouchers."

"Betsy DeVos, now confirmed as secretary of Education, is not just another inexperienced member of the president’s Cabinet," Miner writes. "She is an ideologue with a singular educational passion — replacing our system of democratically controlled public schools with a universal voucher program that privileges private and religious ones."

  • K-12
  • Charter Schools
L.A. school board member Steve Zimmer
L.A. school board member Steve Zimmer (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Charter schools were a big topic this week at a campaign forum for candidates running for District 4 of the Los Angeles Board of Education. Two-term incumbent Steve Zimmer, L.A. school board president, faces challengers Allison Holdorff Polhill, Nick Melvoin and Gregory Martayan.

They squared off Monday at Loyola Marymount University.

Here are some of their comments on charter schools: