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(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

When the state of California asked the Obama administration for permission to drop an old science test in favor of a new one that the state was putting into place, the answer — more than once — was no.

The test waiver issue, technical as it may seem, is one example of how California, despite fighting the Trump administration on many fronts, is benefiting in certain ways from the change in regime.

The Trump administration is big on cutting regulations and red tape.

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  • LAUSD
  • Charter Schools
Celerity Dyad Charter School
Celerity Dyad Charter School (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Under scrutiny from federal and L.A. Unified investigators, a group of Los Angeles charter schools is splitting from its parent organization and one of its longtime leaders.

At a meeting of the Los Angeles Unified school board on Tuesday, Celerity Educational Group CEO Grace Canada announced that she is stepping down. According to the group's lawyer, Celerity has also ended its contracts with Celerity Global Development and will no longer be paying management fees to the organization.

“I just want to convey the big picture here — it is a new day at Celerity,” Canada said. She did not say when she planned to leave the organization.

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  • K-12
  • LAUSD

The Los Angeles Unified School District appears to have once again broken its all-time record, reporting a preliminary graduation rate of 80.2% for the class of 2017.

That’s up 3 percentage points from the year before, part of a rapid uphill climb. From 2015 to 2016, the graduate rate rose 5 percentage points, from 72% to 77%.

Supt. Michelle King told board members that the rate had “topped 80%” at Tuesday’s board meeting. District officials confirmed the number via email.

  • K-12
  • LAUSD
Student Asa Ferguson, right, with his parents Rogan and Susan Ferguson, holds pieces of the coil "gun" science project that got his teacher into trouble in 2014.
Student Asa Ferguson, right, with his parents Rogan and Susan Ferguson, holds pieces of the coil "gun" science project that got his teacher into trouble in 2014. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Three days of lost pay may not seem like much, not worth arguing over for more than three years. But when an arbitration panel ruled last month that biology teacher Greg Schiller should get that money back, he and his many supporters saw a much greater victory.

They view the resolution in Schiller’s favor as overdue vindication for an instructor who just wanted to teach science, but whose efforts fell victim to ignorance, overreaction and bureaucratic one-size-fits-all, by-the-rules stubbornness.

Schiller’s problems at the Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts began in early 2014, when L.A. Unified determined two student projects he’d been supervising were guns.

  • Higher Education
  • K-12
  • LAUSD
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra at his confirmation hearing in January.
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra at his confirmation hearing in January. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

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(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

A bill to provide free menstrual products in public schools with low-income students is heading to the governor's desk. 

AB 10 by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) would require Title I-funded schools with students in grades six through 12 to stock restrooms with feminine hygiene products. It passed the Assembly 63-0 on Monday, and now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature. 

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

High school students in L.A. Unified are graduating at higher rates than ever before. But it’s too early to know whether these students will go on to complete higher-level education or succeed in the job market.

Now one of the school board’s new members wants to try to answer those questions by gathering and publicizing a lot more information, both on graduates and current students.

  • Higher Education
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times; Rafael Agustin)

By all appearances, Rafael Agustin had been the all-American high school student. But there was one hitch: He was also in the country illegally.

It was a discovery Agustin learned while applying for college in 1998 — before there was a program such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

Agustin, now a U.S. citizen who received his undergraduate and post-graduate degrees from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television, has channeled that experience and created a series inspired by his life, tentatively titled “Illegal.”

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(Chioma Ojini)

Ashley Fan, a senior at Troy High School, profiled a young music producer who calls herself Chioma the Audio Artist.

Chioma Nicole Ojini is a sort of triple threat when it comes to music and art. She’s a jazz vocalist by day and a music producer by night, and also manages to be a UI/UX graphic designer somewhere in between.

Ojini has created her own Orange County-based freelance career by the age of 24, switching gears between music, design and schooling. But the first thing on her mind is always jazz. Ojini was introduced to jazz at a young age by her mother, and her passion was tangible when she spoke about it. She talked with her hands as she explained that she believes jazz needs a modern renaissance, one that will stay true to the spirit of jazz by bringing back its spontaneous creation.

  • Betsy DeVos
  • Higher Education
  • K-12
  • University of California
  • LAUSD
  • Charter Schools
(Charles Trainor Jr. / Miami Herald)

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