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1297 posts
  • Higher Education
  • University of California
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

In an unprecedented move to ease controversy over its admission policies, the University of California on Monday proposed a 20% systemwide limit on nonresident undergraduate enrollment and vowed to continue giving Californians top priority.

The proposed limit on students from other states and countries — which would be the first for the 10-campus public research university — comes after a scathing state audit last year found that UC was hurting California students by admitting too many out-of-state applicants. 

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  • Betsy DeVos
  • Higher Education
  • K-12
  • LAUSD
  • Charter Schools
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

In and around Los Angeles:

  1. Questionable spending inside Celerity Charter School Network.
  2. These L.A. school board candidates have a message, but little money to get it out.
  3. L.A. Unified is expanding dual language programs for its youngest learners.

In California:

  1. Gov. Jerry Brown told Pepperdine law school students "there's no substitute for experience."
  2. This year, state legislators have introduced at least three dozen bills designed to make college more affordable.
  3. In the end, immigration fears didn't stop students from asking for California Dream Act college aid. 

Nationwide:

  1. President Trump wants to create a national private school choice program. Here's how it could work.
  2. A state GOP bill could end a robust desegregation program in Kentucky.
  3. The Supreme Court puts off ruling on transgender rights and sends Gavin Grimm's case back to a lower court.
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  • K-12
  • Charter Schools
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

By her own account, Vielka McFarlane was an immigrant success story. She had escaped a childhood of poverty in Panama, made her way to Los Angeles and founded a nonprofit network of publicly funded charter schools called the Celerity Educational Group.

In 2013, she earned $471,842, about 35% more than Michelle King, the superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, makes today.

McFarlane was prospering, and it showed. She wore Armani suits, ate at expensive restaurants and used a black car service.

Students at Washington University in St. Louis pull a mock ball and chain representing student debt.
Students at Washington University in St. Louis pull a mock ball and chain representing student debt. (Paul J. Richards / AFP/Getty Images)

California legislators have introduced at least three dozen bills this year that aim to make college more affordable, including proposals to freeze tuition, demystify student loan statements and make textbooks cheaper.

The breadth of ideas points to an unusual degree of attention being paid in the Capitol to higher education costs.

  • LAUSD
  • For Parents
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Unified School District plans to open six or seven more dual-language programs for its youngest students in the fall, said Hilda Maldonado, executive director of L.A. Unified’s multilingual and multicultural education department. They’ll be taught half in Spanish, half in English.

The district has 87 K-12 dual-language programs, and about 16 more are in the works. The new preschool classes will open in schools that already have K-5 programs.

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District 6 candidates Araz Parseghian and Gwendolyn Posey
District 6 candidates Araz Parseghian and Gwendolyn Posey (Tyrone D. Washington/Wave Tech Media)

The three races for the Los Angeles Board of Education are the most expensive school board contests in the country because opposing special interests — charter school advocates and the local teachers union — are spending millions of dollars to back favored candidates.

Other hopefuls for the seats are getting none of this money to get their messages out. But they’d like you to know about them too.

  • K-12
  • LAUSD
  • For Parents
District 4 school board candidates, from left: Gregory Martayan, Nick Melvoin, incumbent Steve Zimmer and Allison Holdorff Polhill.
District 4 school board candidates, from left: Gregory Martayan, Nick Melvoin, incumbent Steve Zimmer and Allison Holdorff Polhill. (Stuart Palley/ For The Times)

On Tuesday, charter school supporters have their best chance yet to tip the scales and win a controlling majority on the Los Angeles Board of Education.

Three of the seven seats are up for grabs, and charter backers have strong candidates, seemingly unlimited financial resources — with major help from former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan — and the enthusiastic support of a growing number of charter-school families.

The charter-backed candidates are Kelly Gonez in District 6, incumbent Monica Garcia in District 2, and Allison Holdorff Polhill and Nick Melvoin — both running against school board President Steve Zimmer — in District 4. If they prevail, they could form a majority alliance along with board member Ref Rodriguez, a charter school founder who is not up for reelection.

President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at St. Andrew Catholic School in Orlando, Fla.
President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at St. Andrew Catholic School in Orlando, Fla. (Joe Burbank / TNS)

President Trump, in his recent address to Congress, echoed a long-running campaign theme, urging lawmakers to introduce a “school choice” initiative that would allow “disadvantaged youth” to attend a “public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school.”

One of Trump’s guests Tuesday night in the House chamber gallery was Denisha Merriweather, who, after twice failing third grade, the president pointed out, graduated from a Florida private school "with the help of a tax credit scholarship program" and is now finishing a master’s degree.

Trump highlighted vouchers again Friday during his first official school visit as president — to a Catholic school run out of the Diocese of Orlando, Fla.

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  • Higher Education
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

In a lighthearted speech at Pepperdine University’s annual law school dinner, Gov. Jerry Brown took a break from politics and urged students not to lose sight of the universal truths of education and the law.

“My father used to be a Republican, and then he became a Democrat. And Ronald Reagan used to be a Democrat, and he became a Republican. So relax,” Brown said, easing the more conservative crowd into a reflection on the importance of learning the rules of the law and thinking creatively.

“There's no substitute for experience,” he said, reflecting on his work over the years in education, political reform and crime. “Law school is an exciting place. You learn about the rules, and you learn ... that every rule has a counter rule.”

  • Higher Education
  • K-12
  • LAUSD
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Last week, The Times reported that far fewer students than usual had submitted California Dream Act applications for college financial aid.

The drop in applications —  from about 34,170 last year to 20,100 this year — had officials worried that students who came into the country without legal papers were forgoing valuable financial aid out of concern about President Trump's immigration policies and fear that filling out information might put them at risk.

But stories about the application shortfall and officials' assurances that student information would be kept safe helped turned the tide. So did the work of the school districts across the state that held financial aid workshops.