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Every time Nicole Hockley and Mark Barden talk to students, they have to remind themselves: Compartmentalize. Inspire. Don’t cry.

The stakes are personal and painful, life and death. Hockley and Barden each lost a child nearly five years ago in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn.

  • K-12
  • For Parents

A 4.0 GPA isn’t enough to get into any college you want anymore. Now you often have to add Advanced Placement classes into the mix.

Once reserved for the most elite high school students, these college-level classes are finding their way into more schools, and more colleges expect to see them on applicants’ transcripts. Some high schools even require every student to take an AP class.

What are AP classes, and what do you and your teen need to know about them? Here's a guide we published in 2015 to answer all your questions. Email or tweet us if you have more.

  • Higher Education
  • University of California
(Danielle Sundell / Daily Californian)

Debate has raged over whether University of California police properly responded to violent protests that shut down a UC Berkeley appearance of conservative firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos. 

Police made one arrest and were both criticized and praised over their restraint.

Here's a cool graphic from the campus Daily Californian, showing how UC police tactics have changed over the years.

  • Betsy DeVos
  • K-12

Betsy DeVos hasn't exactly been on Twitter much. She follows eight accounts, including her husband's and her son's, and has tweeted 32 times since 2013 — including once when she took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

But the reaction she's getting lately on Twitter is just another sign — like the protesters who blocked her way into a D.C. public school Friday morning — that she'll need a thick skin as President Trump's education secretary.

On Wednesday, she (or someone in her office) tweeted this: 

The curve may look flat, but the gains are pretty significant because reading scores, on average, increase at a far slower rate than math scores. Researchers hypothesize that it's because reading is so dependent on time spent outside of school.

  • K-12
  • Charter Schools
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

In October, the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People called for a moratorium on new charter schools throughout the U.S.

A resolution from the NAACP doesn't have any immediate policy implications, but it did signal that one of the country's most prominent civil rights organizations would put its weight against charter schools, which mostly are privately run but publicly funded.

Trump's new Education secretary, Betsy DeVos, is in favor of these schools and others that offer families choices beyond their neighborhood public school.

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. 

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.

  • Higher Education
  • K-12
  • 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


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.