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(Erik Lesser / European Pressphoto Agency)

The U.S. Department of Education has asked California to resubmit its plan for satisfying the Every Student Succeeds Act, a major education law.

President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015 to replace the No Child Left Behind Act. Where the much-criticized former act took a prescriptive, test-score-based approach to grading schools, ESSA gives states more agency to design their own systems. 

Californians used the opportunity to include multiple factors, such as attendance rates and suspensions, in new school ratings under ESSA.

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Students know little about real-world finance.
Students know little about real-world finance. (Getty Images)

In and around Los Angeles:

  1. Eagle Rock Elementary won a grant of over $32,000 from Broadway legend Andrew Lloyd Webber’s foundation and the American Theatre Wing to spruce up its auditorium. 

In California:

  1. One-quarter of the state’s foster youth are considered chronically absent, according to new attendance data.
  2. California flunked in a survey of how much effort schools are making to teach financial literacy.

Nationwide:

  1. Pennsylvania’s education board chief resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
  2. One alumna’s reflection on how intensely focused arts high schools often end up leading students toward more traditional academic paths.
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  • Betsy DeVos
  • Higher Education
  • K-12
  • University of California
The late Chris Cornell, of Soundgarden/Audioslave.
The late Chris Cornell, of Soundgarden/Audioslave. (Ricardo de Aratanha / Los Angeles Times)

In and around Los Angeles:

  1. UCLA Law School is launching the Chris Cornell Scholarship, thanks to a donation from a coalition led by the late musician’s wife.
  2. L.A. Unified’s year, by the numbers.

In California:

  1. The state’s childhood poverty rate has increased.
  2. A Northern California family’s quest to get schools to stop banning medical cannabis.

Nationwide:

  1. How a small, tuition-free college serving low-income students became a casualty of partisan fighting over the tax bill in Washington.
  2. Carmen Farina is stepping down as chancellor of the New York City public school system.
  3. Under a new process announced by Betsy DeVos, students defrauded by Corinthian Colleges might not see all their loans forgiven.
  • Higher Education
  • K-12
  • LAUSD
  • For Parents
School's out for LAUSD students during winter break.
School's out for LAUSD students during winter break. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

In and around Los Angeles:

  1. A teacher was fined nearly $100,000 and sent to jail for disability insurance fraud.
  2. L.A. Unified is on winter break until January.

In California:

  1. The state Legislative Analyst’s Office suggests lawmakers might want to “exercise caution” in expanding a pilot program that lets some community colleges offer bachelor’s degrees.
  2. San Mateo County is boosting students’ reading skills with a renewed focus on the early years.

Nationwide:

  1. A Washington, D.C., school sent a 3-year-old home with the wrong adult, police say.
  2. In an extensive interview with Slate, Stanford researcher Sean Reardon discusses how some tools for evaluating low-income schools miss the mark.
  • Higher Education
  • California State University
  • University of California
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

California colleges and universities do a better job protecting free speech than their national peers but they still need to improve, a new study has found. 

Nationally, 32% of campuses have at least one policy that “clearly and substantially” restricts free speech, according to an annual report by the nonprofit Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. In California, that number drops to about 14%. The report gives these schools its lowest rating — a “red light.” 

On its website, the foundation, known as FIRE, states that its mission “is to defend and sustain individual rights at America’s colleges and universities” and that those rights “include freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience — the essential qualities of individual liberty and dignity.”

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  • Betsy DeVos
  • Higher Education
  • K-12
  • University of California
  • LAUSD
USC graduate students Mariel Bello, Nina Christie and Alyssa Morris, left to right, pose for a selfie to forward to their congressman as they join national protests against the GOP tax bill.
USC graduate students Mariel Bello, Nina Christie and Alyssa Morris, left to right, pose for a selfie to forward to their congressman as they join national protests against the GOP tax bill. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

In and around Los Angeles:

  1. An Inland Empire school district has launched an internal investigation of the suicide of a 13-year-old girl who was the apparent victim of repeated bullying by classmates.

  2. L.A. Unified is promoting a hotline that employees can use to report harassment.

In California:

  1. California colleges and universities do better than their peers at protecting free speech — but some still have work to do, a new report finds.
  2. How professional sports teams in the state are getting involved in math and science education.
  3. A school district in Northern California is fighting chronic absenteeism with incentives for students.

Nationwide:

  1. Some University of Baltimore students turned their backs on Betsy DeVos when she spoke at their commencement Monday.
  2. The tax bill no longer includes a measure that would have increased taxes for graduate students, but they may not be out of the woods.
(Maria Alejandra Cardona / Los Angeles Times)

Female politicians are used to finding themselves in rooms full of men.

But on Friday, two of the nation’s most prominent political women got the chance to address 10,000 girls.

Hillary Clinton and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) shared their experiences and offered advice to the young women in middle and high school at the annual Girls Build L.A. leadership summit in downtown Los Angeles.

Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

In and around Los Angeles:

  1. Some parents are suing to halt construction of a large apartment development next door to Palms Elementary School.
  2. Hillary Clinton and Kamala Harris offered advice to 10,000 local teenage girls Friday.
  3. A high school student who was drawn into a sexual relationship with her teacher won a $2.8-million judgment against the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District.

In California:

  1. A conservative UC Berkeley student has made it her mission to foster civilized political discourse.
  2. A new report looks at ways California’s public colleges and universities can better manage the high costs of pressing renovation and construction needs.

Nationwide:

  1. A look at the Kindness Curriculum, which aims to help preschoolers become more aware of their emotions.
  2. Washington, D.C.’s board of education may investigate graduation standards.
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  • Higher Education
  • K-12
  • University of California
A Sandy Hook memorial is seen on the first anniversary of the shooting.
A Sandy Hook memorial is seen on the first anniversary of the shooting. (Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press)

In and around Los Angeles:

  1. L.A. Unified is promoting a national day of service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January.
  2. An father who has been serving abroad in the U.S. Naval Reserve for more than a year surprised his children with a visit at their school in Monrovia.

In California:

  1. Applications to UC campuses broke new records this year. 
  2. Five California colleges lead the way in Latino graduation rates.

Nationwide:

  1. The mourning never ends in Newtown, Conn., where five years ago, the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School killed 26 people, including 20 children.
  2. Babies born to mothers who lived near fracking wells face many health risks, a study finds.
  • Higher Education
  • California State University
  • University of California
UC Riverside
UC Riverside (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Five California colleges and universities rank among the nation’s top 10 for promoting Latino student success, a new study has found.

Whittier College topped the list by the Education Trust, which analyzed data from 613 public and private four-year institutions.

Whittier, a private nonprofit liberal arts college, had a higher graduation rate for Latinos — 71.2% — than whites — 65.6% — based on a weighted average over 2013, 2014 and 2015. Whittier also had the highest graduation rates for Latinos when compared to other colleges with similar demographics.