LOCAL Education

Welcome to Essential Education, our daily look at education in California and beyond. Here's the latest:

Betsy DeVos K-12

What are your thoughts about Betsy DeVos? We'd love to hear.

An unprecedented number of Americans have called, emailed and faxed their lawmakers to share their thoughts about the U.S. Secretary of Education since she was confirmed last week. We'd love to know what you think about Betsy DeVos and her new job. Tell us.

Send us your answers >>

K-12 LAUSD

Alex Caputo-Pearl wins second term as L.A. teachers union president

Alex Caputo-Pearl (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)
Alex Caputo-Pearl (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

Alex Caputo-Pearl on Monday won a second three-year term as president of United Teachers Los Angeles, the union that represents teachers, counselors and nurses in L.A. Unified .

The results were a strong vote of confidence for the union leader, who received 82% of the vote against challenger Lisa Karahalios. His “Union Power” slate also won, sweeping all seven citywide offices, even though the opponents included veteran and respected union leaders. All the winners received more than 50% of ballots cast, allowing them to avoid a runoff.

K-12

Teens get a hand in figuring out how to break off toxic relationships

 (Don Leach/Daily Pilot)
(Don Leach/Daily Pilot)

Fountain Valley High School students recently learned about the effects of teen dating violence and how to break the cycle of toxic relationships through "Love Shouldn't Hurt," a presentation created by Irvine-based nonprofit Human Options.

The after-school presentation was hosted by the school's relatively new student-run Domestic Violence Prevention Awareness Club, which invited Human Options to address club members and other students.

The nonprofit offers services to domestic-violence victims and lectures to students and parents throughout Orange County.

Betsy DeVos Higher Education K-12 LAUSD

Science bowl victory, Long Beach rebuffed, Spicer's mistake: What's new in education today

 (K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune)
(K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune)

In and around Los Angeles:

  • North Hollywood High School students won a regional science competition, and will move on to the next round in Washington.
  • The future of L.A. Unified will be shaped by two elections.

In California:

Nationwide:

  • The group that runs Washington's school voucher program expects to get more funding under the Trump administration.
  • What Press Secretary Sean Spicer got wrong about Obama's protections for transgender students.

Come talk to us on Facebook . And go to www.latimes.com/schools to find all our latest education news in one spot.

K-12

North Hollywood High School wins LADWP Science Bowl

North Hollywood High has advanced to Washington, D.C. before, in 2012. (Los Angeles Times)
North Hollywood High has advanced to Washington, D.C. before, in 2012. (Los Angeles Times)

A group of North Hollywood High School students were reveling in victory over the weekend after winning the school’s 18th regional title in a science-based academic tournament.

“Showcasing an outstanding grasp of advanced science, math and technology concepts, quick reflexes and grace under pressure,” the high school’s “A” team won the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Science Bowl regional competition, the LADWP said in a statement. The contest was held Saturday in downtown Los Angeles.

K-12 LAUSD

An inside, outside election season for L.A. teachers union

L.A.teachers union President Alex Caputo-Pearl (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
L.A.teachers union President Alex Caputo-Pearl (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

For Los Angeles teachers, the current political season packs a one-two punch.

On Monday, ballots are to be counted to determine who will lead their union. Just over a week later, voters are to decide on three pivotal L.A. school board seats.

Both results will be important not just for future negotiations over classroom and work conditions but because powerful forces want to push Los Angeles education in a different direction, which could very much affect teachers’ lives.

K-12

Saturday is opening day for high school baseball

 (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

The sun will be out, the fields are ready and the top pitchers are set to make their season debuts on Saturday when the high school baseball season in Southern California moves into high gear.

One top matchup has Orange Lutheran playing Dana Hills in a doubleheader at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Cal State Fullerton.

Higher Education K-12

School districts try to reassure immigrant students after Trump's new immigration enforcement guidance

A detail of a poster on the wall as program assistant Alma Sanchez teaches an after-school college prep class at Kid City. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
A detail of a poster on the wall as program assistant Alma Sanchez teaches an after-school college prep class at Kid City. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

In the wake of the Trump administration’s new guidelines on immigration enforcement, some school districts are telling their students they will be protected from raids — at the same time as officials try to figure out exactly what the rules will mean for their students.

The Department of Homeland Security memos released this week  empower immigration enforcement officers to target any of the estimated 11 million people in the U.S. illegally. The directives call for hiring thousands more agents but do not say how officers should handle the so-called Dreamers, students who came to the U.S. without papers as young children.

The Los Angeles Unified School Board already had declared its schools “safe zones.” In February 2016, the board passed a resolution stating that if Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents try to enter schools in search of students, administrators should direct them to LAUSD headquarters. (ICE traditionally considers schools "sensitive" locations, so until now hasn't sought students at them.)

Chicago Public Schools this week announced a similar policy. Denver Public Schools did so last week.

But LAUSD officials say they aren’t sure what the new directives mean. “It seems that DHS and the administration is ramping up via these memos, but it always goes back to the very constitutional notion” of serving all students equally, said Devora Reed, LAUSD associate counsel. “Even though there may be subsequent executive orders and subsequent memos that come out of DHS, we are still bound by that, and that’s what drives every policy decision we make.”

Educators say the new guidelines add to an increasingly fraught cloud of fear, one that has prevented some immigrants from applying for financial aid.

“What I’m telling the students who are asking, is 'Know your rights, and stay out of trouble — you can’t be doing dumb high school student things, you have to be more careful than anybody,'" said Jane Slater, a college counselor at Sequoia High School in Redwood City.

California State University Higher Education

CSU students told to call campus cops if stopped by immigration officers

As deportation fears grow among college students who are in the country illegally, the head of California State University has told everyone in the 23-campus system to call school police if approached by immigration officials.

CSU Chancellor Timothy White made the request Wednesday in a written statement to faculty, students and staff in response to two recent memos issued by Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly regarding increased border security and stricter enforcement of immigration laws.

Don’t expect a standoff between federal and campus officers anytime soon, though.

Neither of Kelly’s memos said immigration raids were planned at colleges, or mentioned changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, which allows enrollment for some students who came to the country illegally as children.

Betsy DeVos K-12

Will state restrictions on transgender choice of school bathrooms now gain traction?

 (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

For Texas state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, requiring people to use the bathroom according to the gender on their birth certificate has always been about public safety.

It’s why Kolkhorst is the prime sponsor of a controversial transgender bathroom bill — the Texas Privacy Act — being debated in the Legislature, and why she welcomed news Wednesday that the Trump administration had ceased a federal mandate, implemented by President Obama, directing schools to allow transgender students to use restrooms and other facilities that match their gender identities.

Betsy DeVos K-12

The Obama administration actually did consult with Americans when drafting guidelines for transgender students

On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer defended Donald Trump’s decision to roll back Obama-era protections for transgender students, which stated that public schools must let students use the bathrooms and lockers of their choosing.

Like U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Spicer said that these issues are best left to the states. He also said that when the protections were written, “there was no input from parents, teachers, students or administrators. None.”

That’s not true, according to Catherine Lhamon, who drafted the initial guidance as assistant secretary for the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.

The guidance hasn't been enforced since August, when a Texas judge issued a nationwide injunction. In a declaration she made in the Texas lawsuit, Lhamon wrote that her agency had been holding “listening sessions” about transgender students since 2010 — with parents, students , teachers, school administrators and religious groups. Lhamon says the Department of Education held between 10 and 20 of these meetings.

As a result of the Texas judge’s order, Lhamon said, the Obama administration stopped reviewing cases, visiting schools and collecting information on transgender cases. Still, she said, the guidance — even once it was stayed — empowered school boards to pass policies that allowed transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice.

“It’s devastating to visit harm on students who are relying on the federal government,” Lhamon, a former lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union in Los Angeles, said of the new administration’s move. She added that rescinding the guidance would create confusion, instead of clarifying the law.

“It’s out of step with what the law demands,” said Lhamon, who now chairs the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. “It disregards the students who are required to be in school every day. It turns its back on educators who have asked for information on how to do what’s right.”

Trump has yet to nominate someone to fill Lhamon’s former post.

Higher Education University of California

UC regents unanimously approve Georgia Tech dean as new chancellor for UC Davis

 (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

University of California regents unanimously approved a new chancellor for UC Davis on Thursday, tapping a Georgia Tech dean who is widely praised for his engineering brilliance, administrative skills and effective advocacy for underrepresented minority students.

Gary May, a UC Berkeley alumnus who heads Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering, will be the 10-campus UC system’s only African American chancellor.

Betsy DeVos Higher Education K-12 LAUSD University of California

DeVos' CPAC speech, an L.A. school board voter guide, Apple on Trump: What's new in education today

L.A. school board President Steve Zimmer (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
L.A. school board President Steve Zimmer (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

In and around Los Angeles:

  • LA Weekly has a voter guide to the Los Angeles Unified board of education race.
  • Los Angeles Unified officials are pledging to protect the rights of the city's transgender students.
  • The district is holding several financial aid workshops Saturday, to encourage high school students to apply for help with college expenses before the March 2 deadline.

In California:

Nationwide:

Come talk to us on Facebook . And go to www.latimes.com/schools to find all our latest education news in one spot.

Higher Education

Black History Month artwork torn down at Orange Coast College

This display of nine black vinyl banners was created by student Karina Mendoza to commemorate Black History Month. (Courtesy of Karina Mendoza)
This display of nine black vinyl banners was created by student Karina Mendoza to commemorate Black History Month. (Courtesy of Karina Mendoza)

Orange Coast College is investigating after Black History Month student artwork was torn down in the campus Art Center on Tuesday.

The art project includes 18 names of people killed by police listed on nine black vinyl banners with the words "Promise that you will sing about me" at the top, referring to a Kendrick Lamar track. A multicolored flag signifying the LGBT community adorns the bottom, along with "#SayTheirName" and "BlackLivesMatter."

K-12

Jameis Winston says he used 'poor word choice' after telling kids that girls should be silent

 (Jason Behnken / Associated Press)
(Jason Behnken / Associated Press)

Jameis Winston was brought in to a Florida elementary school Wednesday to deliver a positive message to the students.

And he did that for most of the time. But for some reason during his 40-minute speech, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback also told the girls in the room they should be “silent, polite, gentle” while informing the boys they’re “supposed to be strong.”

Betsy DeVos K-12

School vouchers can sometimes have negative effects on student outcomes

 (Mario Tama / Getty Images)
(Mario Tama / Getty Images)

As we wait to see exactly how President Trump will try to fulfill his campaign promise to create a nationwide school voucher program , Kevin Carey has provided  some key context in a piece in the New York Times.

Carey, who directs the education policy program at the think tank New America, writes that the origins of school vouchers can be traced to a single 1955 essay by economist Milton Friedman. Friedman suggested the idea of offering vouchers to help pay for private schools, as long as those schools that got public money met "certain minimum standards."

Most programs, Carey says, have relied on standardized testing to show that they do.

But several recent studies, based on test scores, of how students fare in voucher programs have "found that vouchers hurt student learning," Carey says.

The Trump administration has yet to release a plan for building new school voucher programs, but some think it could come in the form of a tax credit .

California State University Community Colleges Higher Education K-12 University of California

Fewer students who came to the U.S. without legal papers are applying for college aid under the California Dream Act

Cesar, an undocumented high school student who does not want to be fully identified, raises his hand. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Cesar, an undocumented high school student who does not want to be fully identified, raises his hand. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Fears about heightened enforcement of federal immigration laws combined with confusion and anti-immigrant rhetoric might be causing thousands of California students who came to the United States without legal papers to forgo valuable college aid.

Far fewer students than last year have applied for financial aid through the California Dream Act so far this year, and advocates are trying to encourage them to do so before the March 2 deadline.

Betsy DeVos California State University Higher Education K-12 University of California

A promise to transgender students, fewer Dreamers and Napolitano's tough talk: What's new in education today

Janet Napolitano (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)
Janet Napolitano (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

In and around Los Angeles:

In California:

  • Fewer students who came into the U.S. without legal status are applying for California college aid.
  • Transgender students have explicit rights in California.
  • UC President Janet Napolitano blasts Trump immigration crackdown as a backward step.
  • California ranks fifth on Advanced Placement test scores.

Nationwide:

  • The Trump administration rescinded Obama-era guidance on transgender students, despite reports that Betsy DeVos disagrees.
  • The College Board is beefing up its security — and administering fewer international tests — after reports of cheating on the SAT.

To learn more, talk to us on Facebook . And go to www.latimes.com/schools to find all our latest education news in one spot.

Betsy DeVos K-12

Trump administration rescinds guidelines on protections for transgender students

 (Richard Shiro / Associated Press)
(Richard Shiro / Associated Press)

The Trump administration rescinded an Obama -era directive Wednesday aimed at protecting transgender students’ rights, questioning its legal grounding.

Under the guidelines, schools had been required to treat transgender students according to their stated gender identity, and either allow access to restrooms and locker rooms for the gender they identify with or provide private facilities if requested.

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