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  • K-12
(Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP)

The man credited with leading an initiative that brought healthier meals to Los Angeles’ public school students has been charged with embezzlement, forgery and mismanagement of funds, prosecutors said Tuesday.

David Binkle, the district’s 52-year-old former food services director, was charged last week with multiple counts of misappropriation of public funds, embezzlement of public funds, conflict of interest, forgery and perjury, according to a statement issued by the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

Binkle, whose work reducing the sodium and fat intakes of students in the country’s second-largest school district won praise from former First Lady Michelle Obama, is accused of siphoning roughly $65,000 worth of Los Angeles Unified School District funds to a culinary club he ran, according to prosecutors.

(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

With her contract extended until 2020, L.A. Unified Supt. Michelle King laid out her priorities Tuesday morning in her State of the District speech, repeatedly mentioning her goal of 100% graduation.

The speech, delivered this year at Garfield High School in East L.A., is an annual tradition. The event is part pep rally for the 1,500 administrators in the audience who will begin a new school year on Aug. 15, and part political performance.

 From left, Nikki's mom Priya Shah, Nikki, Nikki’s sister and her dad Jaspret Brar.
From left, Nikki's mom Priya Shah, Nikki, Nikki’s sister and her dad Jaspret Brar. (Family photo)

Nicole Brar wants you to know her name, and that she deserves better.

The transgender 8-year-old girl and her parents are suing her former Orange County private school for allegedly preventing her from expressing her gender identity. She is choosing not to be a Jane Doe — as a young plaintiff, she could remain anonymous — because she feels strongly, according to her lawyers, about “fighting on behalf of her right to an education without discrimination.”

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

A flood of students unexpectedly accepted admission offers. A UC campus was caught off guard. Administrators scoured the files of the admitted and took a hard line on those who had failed to meet paperwork deadlines. They withdrew more than 500 offers, causing a furor.

The year was 2015, the campus Santa Cruz.

The storm that UC Irvine recently unleashed when it took a similar approach to overenrollment was unusual but hardly unheard of on the nation’s college campuses. Experts say the two UC cases and others like them at Temple University in Philadelphia and St. Mary’s College of Maryland underscore the vagaries of enrollment prediction — a discipline that aims to meld the science of data analysis with the guesswork of anticipating teenage whims.

USC President C. L. Max Nikias reappointed Puliafito to a second term in 2012
USC President C. L. Max Nikias reappointed Puliafito to a second term in 2012 (Thomas Meredith / For The Time)

How USC handles one of the biggest scandals in its history will be decided behind closed doors by a small group of wealthy and powerful people.

Composed of 57 voting members, USC’s board of trustees includes noted philanthropists, accomplished alumni, Hollywood insiders and industrial tycoons. The group’s influence extends from the floor of Staples Center to metropolises in India and China.

Since the Carmen Puliafito scandal broke, the trustees have been largely silent. Times reporters attempted to contact all 57 voting members by phone, email or both. Reporters also sent requests to USC’s press office seeking comment from trustees. Only two commented to The Times. The rest did not reply, or declined to comment. 

(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

An immigration appeals court Monday granted a last-ditch reprieve to a man whose arrest and looming deportation have made him a cause célèbre in the country’s roiling debate over illegal immigration.

Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez, 49, was arrested in February in Los Angeles by immigration officers moments after he dropped one of his four daughters off at school. Another of the girls who was in the car at the time recorded a video of the arrest.

McKenna Thurber and Blake Atwell are summer HS Insider interns. 

Filmmaker Ken Burns spent his youth protesting the Vietnam War. Over 30 years later, Burns and director Lynn Novick embarked on a 10-year journey to bring light to the war’s corruption.

From U.S. Air Force pilots to teenage Vietnamese bus drivers, who spent their nights secretly transporting wounded Vietnamese soldiers across the Ho Chi Minh Trail, Burns and Novick feature voices and images that highlight new perspectives on the war.

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The Charles River near the Harvard campus
The Charles River near the Harvard campus (Charles Krupa / Associated Press)

When the Trump administration announced Wednesday that it planned to investigate racial discrimination against Asian Americans in college admissions, Joe Zhou was thrilled. His lawsuit is making its way through a Massachusetts federal district court. 

The broader Asian American community is divided on the issue, with several groups criticizing the administration’s announcement.

  • Higher Education
  • California State University
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Cal State Chancellor Timothy P. White speaks during a Board of Trustees meeting in July.
Cal State Chancellor Timothy P. White speaks during a Board of Trustees meeting in July. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

California State University plans to drop placement exams in math and English as well as the noncredit remedial courses that more than 25,000 freshmen have been required to take each fall — a radical move away from the way public universities traditionally support students who come to college less prepared than their peers.

In an executive order issued late Wednesday, Chancellor Timothy P. White directed the nation’s largest public university system to revamp its approach to remedial education and assess new freshmen for college readiness and course placement by using high school grades, ACT and SAT scores, previous classroom performance and other measures that administrators say provide a more accurate and comprehensive understanding of students’ knowledge.

Cal State will no longer make those students who may need extra help take the standardized entry-level mathematics (ELM) exam and the English placement test (EPT).