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 San Francisco Unified School District Supt. Vincent Matthews gives a presentation on African American achievement and leadership.
San Francisco Unified School District Supt. Vincent Matthews gives a presentation on African American achievement and leadership. (Jessica Christian / San Francisco Examiner)

Black students in San Francisco would be better off almost anywhere else in California.

Many attend segregated schools, and the majority of black, Latino and Pacific Islander students did not reach grade-level standards on the state’s recent tests in math or English tests.

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Al Seib / Los Angeles Times
Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Kevin Castillo was in his freshman year at Hamilton High School when administrators carrying hand-held metal detectors interrupted his English class to conduct a random search.

They asked a student to pick a number between 1 and 10. The student chose 7, so every seventh person in the class had to gather up belongings and step out of the classroom.

The chosen students, Kevin among them, were taken to a nearby office, he said, where they were instructed to open their backpacks slowly to allow administrators to look inside. The administrators used sticks to move items around, he said. They also waved the metal-detector wands up and down the students’ bodies.

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(Erik Lesser / European Pressphoto Agency)

The U.S. Department of Education has asked California to resubmit its plan for satisfying the Every Student Succeeds Act, a major education law.

President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015 to replace the No Child Left Behind Act. Where the much-criticized former act took a prescriptive, test-score-based approach to grading schools, ESSA gives states more agency to design their own systems. 

Californians used the opportunity to include multiple factors, such as attendance rates and suspensions, in new school ratings under ESSA.

Students know little about real-world finance.
Students know little about real-world finance. (Getty Images)

In and around Los Angeles:

  1. Eagle Rock Elementary won a grant of over $32,000 from Broadway legend Andrew Lloyd Webber’s foundation and the American Theatre Wing to spruce up its auditorium. 

In California:

  1. One-quarter of the state’s foster youth are considered chronically absent, according to new attendance data.
  2. California flunked in a survey of how much effort schools are making to teach financial literacy.

Nationwide:

  1. Pennsylvania’s education board chief resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
  2. One alumna’s reflection on how intensely focused arts high schools often end up leading students toward more traditional academic paths.
  • Betsy DeVos
  • Higher Education
  • K-12
  • University of California
The late Chris Cornell, of Soundgarden/Audioslave.
The late Chris Cornell, of Soundgarden/Audioslave. (Ricardo de Aratanha / Los Angeles Times)

In and around Los Angeles:

  1. UCLA Law School is launching the Chris Cornell Scholarship, thanks to a donation from a coalition led by the late musician’s wife.
  2. L.A. Unified’s year, by the numbers.

In California:

  1. The state’s childhood poverty rate has increased.
  2. A Northern California family’s quest to get schools to stop banning medical cannabis.

Nationwide:

  1. How a small, tuition-free college serving low-income students became a casualty of partisan fighting over the tax bill in Washington.
  2. Carmen Farina is stepping down as chancellor of the New York City public school system.
  3. Under a new process announced by Betsy DeVos, students defrauded by Corinthian Colleges might not see all their loans forgiven.
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School's out for LAUSD students during winter break.
School's out for LAUSD students during winter break. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

In and around Los Angeles:

  1. A teacher was fined nearly $100,000 and sent to jail for disability insurance fraud.
  2. L.A. Unified is on winter break until January.

In California:

  1. The state Legislative Analyst’s Office suggests lawmakers might want to “exercise caution” in expanding a pilot program that lets some community colleges offer bachelor’s degrees.
  2. San Mateo County is boosting students’ reading skills with a renewed focus on the early years.

Nationwide:

  1. A Washington, D.C., school sent a 3-year-old home with the wrong adult, police say.
  2. In an extensive interview with Slate, Stanford researcher Sean Reardon discusses how some tools for evaluating low-income schools miss the mark.
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(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

California colleges and universities do a better job protecting free speech than their national peers but they still need to improve, a new study has found. 

Nationally, 32% of campuses have at least one policy that “clearly and substantially” restricts free speech, according to an annual report by the nonprofit Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. In California, that number drops to about 14%. The report gives these schools its lowest rating — a “red light.” 

On its website, the foundation, known as FIRE, states that its mission “is to defend and sustain individual rights at America’s colleges and universities” and that those rights “include freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience — the essential qualities of individual liberty and dignity.”

  • Betsy DeVos
  • Higher Education
  • K-12
  • University of California
  • LAUSD
USC graduate students Mariel Bello, Nina Christie and Alyssa Morris, left to right, pose for a selfie to forward to their congressman as they join national protests against the GOP tax bill.
USC graduate students Mariel Bello, Nina Christie and Alyssa Morris, left to right, pose for a selfie to forward to their congressman as they join national protests against the GOP tax bill. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

In and around Los Angeles:

  1. An Inland Empire school district has launched an internal investigation of the suicide of a 13-year-old girl who was the apparent victim of repeated bullying by classmates.

  2. L.A. Unified is promoting a hotline that employees can use to report harassment.

In California:

  1. California colleges and universities do better than their peers at protecting free speech — but some still have work to do, a new report finds.
  2. How professional sports teams in the state are getting involved in math and science education.
  3. A school district in Northern California is fighting chronic absenteeism with incentives for students.

Nationwide:

  1. Some University of Baltimore students turned their backs on Betsy DeVos when she spoke at their commencement Monday.
  2. The tax bill no longer includes a measure that would have increased taxes for graduate students, but they may not be out of the woods.
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(Maria Alejandra Cardona / Los Angeles Times)

Female politicians are used to finding themselves in rooms full of men.

But on Friday, two of the nation’s most prominent political women got the chance to address 10,000 girls.

Hillary Clinton and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) shared their experiences and offered advice to the young women in middle and high school at the annual Girls Build L.A. leadership summit in downtown Los Angeles.

Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

In and around Los Angeles:

  1. Some parents are suing to halt construction of a large apartment development next door to Palms Elementary School.
  2. Hillary Clinton and Kamala Harris offered advice to 10,000 local teenage girls Friday.
  3. A high school student who was drawn into a sexual relationship with her teacher won a $2.8-million judgment against the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District.

In California:

  1. A conservative UC Berkeley student has made it her mission to foster civilized political discourse.
  2. A new report looks at ways California’s public colleges and universities can better manage the high costs of pressing renovation and construction needs.

Nationwide:

  1. A look at the Kindness Curriculum, which aims to help preschoolers become more aware of their emotions.
  2. Washington, D.C.’s board of education may investigate graduation standards.