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Los Angeles Unified School District students at Harris Newmark High School
Los Angeles Unified School District students at Harris Newmark High School (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

The California State Board of Education voted unanimously on a controversial proposal to change how test scores translate into ratings for schools and school districts.

The vote Wednesday followed a long discussion about whether the state's statistical design group works in secret, and whether the change might mislead parents.

The change would be made to the California School Dashboard, a new education rating tool unveiled in preview form this year. It’s supposed to provide a more holistic sense of how a school is doing.

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  • Higher Education
  • California State University
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

California State University’s board of trustees unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday encouraging leaders of the nation’s largest public university system and each of its 23 campuses to support and advocate for the continued protection of their 8,300 “Dreamer” students and hundreds more faculty and staff members.

Chancellor Timothy P. White urged the trustees to take a public stand at their meeting in Long Beach.

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  • Higher Education
  • K-12
  • California State University
  • University of California
  • LAUSD
  • Charter Schools
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

In and around Los Angeles:

  1. Charter school advocates won some concessions from L.A. Unified on Tuesday
  2. State and local officials are investigating an oil spill a block away from a school
  3. Three UCLA basketball players were reportedly involved in a shoplifting incident in China

In California:

  1. What we're watching at this week's California State Board of Education meeting
  2. Cal State faculty tell trustees that they feel too rushed by a plan to loosen course requirements by next fall

Nationwide:

  1. People who oppose school vouchers won seats in a closely-watched school board race in Douglas County, Colo.
  2. How the GOP tax bill could hit graduate students very hard
  • Higher Education
  • California State University
Cal State Chancellor Timothy P. White
Cal State Chancellor Timothy P. White (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

Cal State faculty members lined up at the microphone at the board of trustees meeting Tuesday to express their concerns about executive orders aimed at helping students graduate sooner by dropping noncredit remedial classes and loosening math requirements.

They said they were worried about the speed of the changes, which campuses are supposed to institute by next fall. They said they hadn’t been given enough time to weigh in on how best to make the transition, and that rushing might jeopardize educational quality.

Officials are concerned that too many schools that saw only small changes would be categorized as red.
Officials are concerned that too many schools that saw only small changes would be categorized as red. (California State Board of Education meeting agenda)

After seeing this year’s standardized test scores, state education officials want to change the way those scores translate to school ratings — in a way that likely would make more schools look better.

The statisticians and administrators advocating for the change say it’s necessary as they calibrate the state’s new color-coded school accountability system.

The California State Board of Education will take up this issue — and other proposed changes — in its meeting Wednesday. But what officials call a technical tweak, education advocates see as a lowering of expectations for California’s students.

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  • K-12
  • LAUSD
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

State and local officials have launched a joint investigation after discovering more than 200 plastic bags filled with oil-soaked dirt they believe were about to be removed from the site of a leaky oil well in Echo Park.

City, county and state officials converged on the site just west of downtown this week after a spill, estimated to be from 20 to 40 barrels, was discovered Saturday.

  • K-12
  • LAUSD
  • Charter Schools
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Charter school leaders flexed their new muscle with the L.A. Unified School District on Tuesday to win district concessions on some operating rules. But they stopped short of insisting that all their demands be met, which could have led to school closures and an embarrassing public fight.

Sixteen charters had risked being shut down when they indicated they would refuse to follow district rules. But the deal, announced at Tuesday’s meeting by acting Supt. Vivian Ekchian, led to recommended approvals for most of them.

  • Higher Education
  • K-12
  • California State University
  • LAUSD
  • Charter Schools
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

In and around Los Angeles:

  1. Charter schools seem ready to strike a deal with L.A. Unified in an effort to avert a public fight Tuesday.
  2. How an active parent center has helped an L.A. elementary school.
  3. Cal State's trustees meet in Long Beach.

In California:

  1. A lot of people have something to say about what needs to be in textbooks under the state's new history and social science framework.
  2. Cal State Fullerton's president announced her retirement from that job.

Nationwide:

  1. Massachusett's highest court will examine the question: Can a college be held responsible for a student's suicide?
  2. Tech firms continue to market their wares to America's schools, sometimes using superintendents as consultants.
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  • K-12
  • LAUSD
  • Charter Schools
(Pamela Hassell / Associated Press)

Leaders of a group of charter schools and Los Angeles Unified School District officials were working up to the last minute to avert a public fight at Tuesday’s school board meeting over district rules the charters find onerous.

By late Monday, sources on both sides said a confrontation seemed unlikely, although no one was making public statements.

  • Higher Education
  • California State University
Cal State Chancellor Timothy P. White at a Cal State Board of Trustees meeting in March.
Cal State Chancellor Timothy P. White at a Cal State Board of Trustees meeting in March. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

About 7,000 more students graduated from Cal State this year than last, and the more than 98,700 earning undergraduate degrees was the highest ever in a single academic year, administrators said.

Cal State has vowed to lift its four-year graduation rate to 40% by 2025. Over the last decade, the rate edged up from about 16% to 20%. Today’s 23% is the highest in Cal State’s history.