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Student Beatriz Vergara testifies in the Vergara vs. California case in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Feb. 11, 2014.
Student Beatriz Vergara testifies in the Vergara vs. California case in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Feb. 11, 2014. (Los Angeles Times)

For all the noise, infighting and litigation over teacher evaluations and tenure, California currently has no definition for what a good teacher — or a bad one — looks like.

As one way to measure equity, the federal Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states report on whether disadvantaged students have a higher proportion of ineffective, out-of-field and inexperienced teachers than do their peers. But to report on that metric, the state needs to define, concretely, what an "ineffective" teacher looks like.

In materials prepared for Wednesday's meeting, the State Board of Education has proposed defining ineffective teachers as those who are improperly assigned or don't have full credentials. This language that mirrors the Local Control Funding Formula law, as well as a proposal from the California Teachers Assn. union. The definition would not include any measure of student performance, an omission that is drawing criticism from some.

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(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

California’s schools might not be in session, but the people who oversee them will make some important decisions this week. 

The California State Board of Education is meeting Wednesday and Thursday to debate how the state plans to satisfy the Every Student Succeeds Act, the 2015 federal law that replaced No Child Left Behind.

The state only has about two months to submit its plan to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, whose feedback to other states has been surprising, to say the least. California is attempting to align its plan for satisfying ESSA with the Local Control Funding Formula, a state law that has its own requirements for identifying low-performing school districts.

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  • K-12
  • LAUSD
Students take part in an in-person algebra credit recovery course at Garfield High School is East Los Angeles.
Students take part in an in-person algebra credit recovery course at Garfield High School is East Los Angeles. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Researchers have received a $3.26-million federal grant to study the effectiveness of online credit recovery programs that allow students to make up failed classes. 

The grant, from the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education, will pay for the nonprofit research group American Institutes for Research to study how online makeup courses for Algebra 1 and ninth-grade English compare to retaking the class in person.

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

There’s one thing that past and current Los Angeles school board members seem to agree on: They’ve been underpaid.

Members of an obscure city commission agreed, and on Monday they voted to give L.A. Board of Education members a 174% raise that will take effect in 60 days. Board members who have no other outside employment will see their pay increase to $125,000 a year, from $45,637. Board members who receive any salary or honorarium elsewhere will receive $50,000 a year, compared with the old figure of $26,437.

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(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Unified School District has committed $45 million from 2015 through the 2018 school year to help students who failed classes make up their grades and graduate on time. But what are these “credit recovery” programs, and how do they differ from the ones that you may have taken as a high school student?

Here are some key facts about how credit recovery works in L.A. Unified:

What is credit recovery?

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  • Betsy DeVos
  • K-12
  • LAUSD
  • Charter Schools
Angie Uriu, program manager of the Harmony Project, works with summer school students in a music class at Webster Elementary School in Pasadena.
Angie Uriu, program manager of the Harmony Project, works with summer school students in a music class at Webster Elementary School in Pasadena. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

In and around Los Angeles:

In California:

Nationwide:

A San Diego County jury has awarded nearly $1.9 million to a former cadet who said he was sexually abused by an employee at a Carlsbad military school in 2006.

Following a two-week trial, the panel recently found that the Army and Navy Academy had been negligent in supervising Juan Munoz, a former employee who the victim said had plied him with alcohol and molested him.

  • Betsy DeVos
  • Higher Education
  • K-12
  • University of California
  • LAUSD
  • Charter Schools
New Los Angeles school board member Kelly Gonez is congratulated by her husband, Manuel, who helped swear her in at the Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts.
New Los Angeles school board member Kelly Gonez is congratulated by her husband, Manuel, who helped swear her in at the Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

In and around Los Angeles:

In California:

Nationwide:

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If you can't pay hundreds of dollars to see "Hamilton," don't fret. A group of students at Pacoima Middle School has you covered.

The Pacoima Singers performed the song "My Shot" from the hit Broadway show on Thursday during the swearing-in ceremony for their district's new L.A. Unified school board member, Kelly Gonez.

And in a twist that none of the professional "Hamilton" productions have managed to achieve, girls played every founding father — except for the play's namesake.

Author Kevin Camargo, right, is seen at a similar time in his life as Compton Falcon Khali Ratcliffe.
Author Kevin Camargo, right, is seen at a similar time in his life as Compton Falcon Khali Ratcliffe. (Kevin Camargo / HS Insider)

Kevin Camargo is a HS Insider summer intern who profiled the Compton Falcons. 

I never thought I’d be on a bus giving advice to middle school football players on our way to the beach. The Falcons and I were headed to Will Rogers State Beach for Olympic Day on the morning of June 23.

The LA84 Foundation invited 500 youth athletes from organizations all over Los Angeles, including the Falcons, to attend Olympic Day.