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(Jessica Zhou / HS Insider)

HS Insider college intern Jessica Zhou reported on the groundbreaking this summer at Little Tokyo Service Center's Budokan.

On a muggy Thursday in August, Little Tokyo Service Center broke ground for Budokan, its project to provide a recreational, cultural and community center for residents of Little Tokyo and Japanese Americans throughout Southern California.

More than just a basketball court

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  • Betsy DeVos
  • Higher Education
  • K-12
  • California State University
  • LAUSD
Advocates are promoting awareness of trauma during a child's first years.
Advocates are promoting awareness of trauma during a child's first years. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

In and around Los Angeles:

In California:

Nationwide:

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(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

So much school food goes wasted, tossed in the trash, uneaten. Each day in the Los Angeles Unified School District, students throw out at least $100,000 worth.

That works out to about 600 tons of organic waste daily, according to a 2015 study.

The district pushed for a new law to help change that — and this week Gov. Jerry Brown signed it. The law allows campuses to collect unopened items and untouched fruit and donate them to food banks.

  • Higher Education
  • K-12
  • LAUSD
(Thomas Grauman/Occidental College)

In and around Los Angeles:

In California:

Nationwide:

(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

The new scores, released Wednesday, pave the way for state education officials to accomplish a key task: to identify — and then intervene to improve — the most underperforming schools.

The Every Student Succeeds Act, a federal law, requires states to identify the bottom 5% of their schools that serve low-income students and then take steps to turn them around. California can expect to get $2.6 billion from the federal government for complying with the law, mostly to help children from low-income families.

But the state doesn’t yet have a detailed plan for defining the lowest performers.

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  • Higher Education
(Thomas Grauman / Occidental College)

Occidental College, where a young Barack Obama discovered his passion for politics and social issues, has announced a new scholarship program in honor of the former president “to empower exceptional students committed to the public good.”

Beginning in fall 2018, the liberal arts school in Eagle Rock will cover the costs of four years of undergraduate studies for two students, including their tuition, room and board and study abroad and summer internship programs. The college hopes to raise $40 million to endow and expand the program. So far, it has raised $7 million.

  • Higher Education
  • University of California

Thousands of UC Irvine students got some major help Wednesday when the university opened the largest food pantry in the 10-campus University of California system.

The 1,800-square-foot FRESH Basic Needs Hub houses shelves of canned and dried foods, coolers for refrigerated and frozen items, toiletries and a kitchenette complete with blenders, a convection oven, a microwave and a coffee machine. It’s a spacious place, with areas where students can sit and talk. If they want, they can read cookbooks or take home any of 15 varieties of seeds — pumpkin, spinach and parsley among them — to try to grow their own produce.

  • K-12
  • For Parents
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

When California rolled out new standardized tests, experts said scores would improve when students got used to them. But three tests in, rather than showing strides from familiarity, scores have stagnated — essentially flatlining in English and math.

About 3.2 million students in third through eighth grades and 11th grade took the tests in the spring. This year, 49% passed the English exam, compared with 48% in 2016. In math, 38% of students met or exceeded the state’s standard, compared with 37% last year. Fifth graders’ scores dropped slightly in English.

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  • Higher Education
  • University of California
(Jim Lo Scalzo / European Pressphoto Agency)

Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions pushed the Justice Department into a roiling culture war on Tuesday with a fierce defense of free speech on college campuses — even as he sided with President Trump in condemning NFL players who protest during the national anthem.

Sessions thus put the administration on both sides of a bitter public debate about where and when it is appropriate for Americans to express their political views.

  • K-12
  • LAUSD
Monica Garcia, left, Kelly Gonez and Nick Melvoin, in July.
Monica Garcia, left, Kelly Gonez and Nick Melvoin, in July. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

A week after Ref Rodriguez resigned from the post, the Los Angeles Board of Education on Tuesday picked as its next president a familiar name in city politics, who also happens to be familiar with the job.

Monica Garcia, 49, the longest-serving current board member, ran the board from July 2007 through June 2013.

Her selection to replace Ref Rodriguez as the board’s leader showed that a majority elected with the strong support of charter school backers still held the reins, despite Rodriguez’s legal troubles.