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1248 posts
(Lynwood Unified School District)

By the time Elizabeth Valenzuela entered her senior year at Lynwood High School, she had taken seven Advanced Placement tests and earned potential college credit on five of them. It was an impressive accomplishment, made more impressive still by the fact that in her small school district she wasn’t one of a kind.

Increasing numbers of students from low-income Latino and black families are taking advanced courses and passing AP exams in Lynwood Unified School District, south of downtown Los Angeles.

To make this happen, the district of 15,000 students provided incentives and assistance and eliminated prerequisite courses and grade requirements that used to limit who enrolled.

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  • Betsy DeVos
  • K-12
Transgender student Gavin Grimm, whose case the Supreme Court recently vacated.
Transgender student Gavin Grimm, whose case the Supreme Court recently vacated. (Associated Press)

Shortly after President Donald Trump's inauguration, the administration made waves by revoking President Barack Obama's guidance for transgender students.

The Obama guidelines required schools to let transgender students use the bathrooms and locker rooms according to their stated gender identity, or provide them with private facilities.

At the time, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said that such students do receive civil rights protections, and that her office would be releasing an update on how they could be implemented.

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  • Betsy DeVos
  • Higher Education
  • K-12
  • LAUSD
The state's new budget includes language that is friendly to unions.
The state's new budget includes language that is friendly to unions. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

In and around Los Angeles:

In California:

Nationwide:

  • Betsy DeVos
  • Higher Education
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

As Corinthian Colleges Inc., ITT Technical Institute and other for-profit schools collapsed in recent years, the Obama administration overhauled regulations to make it easier to forgive loans for stranded students and to try to prevent future abuses.

Now, the Trump administration is suspending those rules, which had been set to go into effect July 1. The Department of Education, under Secretary Betsy DeVos, also is launching an effort to rewrite the rules.

  • Betsy DeVos
  • K-12
(Erik Lesser / European Pressphoto Agency)

The U.S. Department of Education is telling civil rights investigators that they can limit the scope of their work, according to an internal memo uncovered by ProPublica. 

The department also is circulating an internal memo that applies similar standards to cases involving transgender students — and encourages case officers to assess each on its own. 

The memo regarding transgender students lists specific instances where officers could have "subject matter jurisdiction," such as failure to use a student's preferred pronoun or a school or district's failure to fix an environment that is hostile toward transgender students. Investigations into  transgender students  being denied the right to use the bathrooms of their choice is not on that list — and the memo states that based on jurisdiction, some complaints might go forward while others, involving bathrooms, might be dismissed.

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Dr. Dre, center, with hands in pockets, views a model of the planned performing arts complex.
Dr. Dre, center, with hands in pockets, views a model of the planned performing arts complex. (Compton Unified School District)

Dr. Dre has pledged to donate $10 million to help build a performing arts complex at the new Compton High School, the Compton Unified School District told The Times on Thursday. 

“My goal is to provide kids with the kind of tools and learning they deserve,” Dre said in a statement to The Times. “The performing arts center will be a place for young people to be creative in a way that will help further their education and positively define their future.”

The complex will provide students with state-of-the-art equipment and technology, including digital media production facilities and a 1,200-seat theater.

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

Quick programming note: You can expect us to slow down a bit during the summer months. But we'll be back at full speed by the time school is in session. 

In and around Los Angeles:

Statewide:

  • K-12

Seven people were killed and 59 injured in an explosion Thursday at the front gate of a kindergarten in eastern China as relatives were picking up their children at the end of the school day, local officials said.

The blast at the Chuangxin Kindergarten in Fengxian, which struck at 4:50 p.m., was under investigation, the Xuzhou city government in Jiangsu province said on its microblog.

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(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Steve Zimmer is about to lose his seat on the Los Angeles school board, but he pulled off an 11th-hour political triumph by engineering a contract extension for Supt. Michelle King.

The move means that the new school board, the first with a majority supported by charter school backers, will inherit a longer commitment to King, whose performance as superintendent has received mixed reviews.

  • Higher Education
(Christopher Woolett / courtesy of California State Student Assn.)

For two years, Maggie White has been delivering impassioned speeches as a student appointee on California State University’s board of trustees. She’s traveled 300 miles each way to board meetings in Long Beach. She’s trekked across the state to meet with fellow students on each of the system’s 23 campuses. She’s done this while also working toward a master’s degree in public administration at Cal State Stanislaus and interning 20 hours a week in the public works department of the rural city of Patterson. All while driving at least a couple of hours each day because she lives at home with her parents.

In July, she takes over as the newly elected president of the California State Student Assn., the official group representing the university system’s entire student body.

She’s busy preparing for her new role, but took a moment to talk about the students she serves and the challenges facing the largest public university system in the country.