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(Erik Lesser / European Pressphoto Agency)

Betsy DeVos' actions betray her rhetoric on enforcing civil rights law, 34 Senate Democrats wrote in a sharply worded letter to the U.S. Secretary of Education on Tuesday.

The four-page memo asserts that DeVos claims to support civil rights while backing contrary policies.

"We are extraordinarily disappointed and alarmed by recent actions you and your staff have taken that have diminished ... [the department's] enforcement of federal civil rights laws," wrote the group led by Washington state Sen. Patty Murray, the ranking Democrat on the education committee. "Your actions belie your assurances."

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(Justin Sullivan / Getty)

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed into law a $183.2-billion budget, a spending plan with significant boosts for public schools and a variety of programs to help California's most needy residents.

While the blueprint depends on a series of other related bills that haven't reached his desk, Brown's action largely ratifies the plan approved by the Legislature and ensures the state will have a budget in place for the new fiscal year that begins Saturday.

The budget boosts total state and local spending on K-12 education and community colleges to $74.5 billion, roughly $11,000 per pupil in the coming school year. It also increases funding for the University of California and California State University systems, and provides additional money for preschool and child care programs.

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  • K-12
  • HS Insider
(Sofia Sears / HS Insider)

Sofia Sears, a high school junior, wrote about how it's important for everyone to be well-informed about feminism.

I want to scream. I am smushed into a hotel bed, shoving greasy french fries down my throat as I watch Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions evade question after question and use the phrase “cannot recall” so many times I’m surprised when he says anything else. This kind of moment does not lack familiarity: the bubbling of frustration acidic and gruesome in my chest, eyes closing, the rhythmic ache of an exhausted cycle I know by heart now.

I have taught myself how to go through these little sparks of seemingly unbearable fear. I have taught myself how to stop being a collapsible little thing in these moments, to get through it. Here is a situation we all know, as Americans: A mediocre old white man is allowed to do whatever he wants without consequence, and he has his comrades in on it, a vicious brotherhood so painted in harmless camaraderie that its insidiousness is often lost on us.

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a church-run preschool has a religious-freedom right to receive a tax-funded grant to improve its playground and may not be excluded from such aid on the grounds of church-state separation.

The court’s 7-2 decision is an important, but modest victory for religious-rights advocates. It stops well short of saying that church schools have a right to public funds for teaching, for example.

  • K-12
(Annaliese Nurnberg / Missourian / Associated Press)

The Supreme Court has ruled that churches have the same right as other charitable groups to seek state money for new playground surfaces and other non-religious needs.

The justices on Monday ruled 7-2 in favor of Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Mo. The church sought a grant to put a soft surface on its preschool playground, but was denied any money even though its application was ranked fifth out of 44 submissions.

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  • K-12
  • LAUSD
  • Charter Schools
(Christian K. Lee / Los Angeles Times)

In and around Los Angeles:

In California:

Nationwide:

  • K-12
  • LAUSD
  • Charter Schools
(Dave Getzschman / For The Times)

Charter schools remain a subject of intense debate in Los Angeles, especially with the arrival soon of two new school board members who were supported by charter backers.

While research on charters often is inconclusive and partisan, a new study has ammunition for both their enthusiasts and their critics.

The research commissioned by a coalition of educational and philanthropic organizations focused on charter schools in Oakland. It determined that they have received less public funding than Oakland’s traditional public schools, but that traditional schools have had a more challenging student population to educate.

  • K-12
  • University of California
(Ringo Chiu / For The Times)

UC Riverside has one of the smallest racial achievement gaps in the nation. African Americans at Riverside graduate at rates similar to those of whites and Latinos and just below Asian Americans.

The six-year graduation rate in 2015 for students who started and finished at UC Riverside was 73% for blacks, 71% for whites, 69% for Latinos and 77% for Asian Americans, according to campus data.

Other UC campuses have higher black graduation rates. But in a study this year of 676 public and private campuses, UC Riverside ranked first in California and sixth in the nation among universities with similar student populations. 

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  • Betsy DeVos
  • Higher Education
  • K-12
  • California State University
  • LAUSD
(Ryse Williams, left (James Escarcega)

In and around Los Angeles:

In California:

Nationwide:

(James Escarcega)

The high school basketball community was dealing with the stunning news Thursday that standout guard Ryse Williams of Redondo High School had died of cancer, according to his former Redondo coach, Reggie Morris Jr.

Williams was 18 years old.

“Everybody is hurting,” Morris said.