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  • Betsy DeVos
  • Higher Education
  • K-12
  • California State University
  • University of California
  • LAUSD
Members of the Watts Bears youth football team pursue Southern California Falcon player.
Members of the Watts Bears youth football team pursue Southern California Falcon player. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

In and around Los Angeles:

L.A. Unified and New York City — the nation’s two largest school systems — are seeking a new leader at the same time.

Police still don’t know how the girl whose gun fired one bullet at Sal Castro Middle School got her weapon.

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Less than two years after members of the L.A. school board chose a superintendent from the district's ranks, they now find themselves in search of a new one — and the task may be harder than ever.

The nation's second-largest school system has a dizzying array of problems, but the board is divided on how to solve them. Meanwhile, there aren't many candidates considered qualified for such a daunting job, and those who are may be getting other offers.

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  • Higher Education
  • California State University
  • University of California
Cal State Long Beach student Shellv Candler turned to transitional housing when she could not afford an apartment.
Cal State Long Beach student Shellv Candler turned to transitional housing when she could not afford an apartment. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Cal State students who are African American and the first in their families to attend college struggle most with food and housing insecurity, including homelessness, according to a new survey by the nation’s largest public university system.

Researchers surveyed a sample of the population at all 23 Cal State campuses and interviewed selected students to explore their experiences in the two areas.

The resulting report, released at a Cal State conference in Sacramento this week, found that about 2 in 10 African Americans who were the first in their families to attend college at times lacked a fixed, regular and adequate place to stay at night, which is among the federal definitions of homelessness. That number was 1 in 10 for surveyed students overall.

A week after students were struck by gunfire at Sal Castro Middle School, Los Angeles police are still trying to determine where the gun came from.

The gunfire erupted in a classroom Feb. 1, with a single bullet striking a 15-year-old boy in the temple and a 15-year-old girl in the left wrist. The girl was discharged from the hospital over the weekend and the boy remains in fair condition. Two other students and a teacher suffered minor injuries.

State officials are warning students about the harmful effects of marijuana.
State officials are warning students about the harmful effects of marijuana. (Frank Franklin II / Associated Press)

In and around Los Angeles:

A judge set a May preliminary hearing date for L.A. school board member Ref Rodriguez’s political money laundering case.

LAUSD enrollment is expected to drop by about 12,000 this year.

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  • Higher Education
  • University of California
A police officer separates opposing political sides before a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos in Berkeley.
A police officer separates opposing political sides before a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos in Berkeley. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

UC Irvine will oversee the University of California’s new center to promote free speech and civic engagement, the campus announced Thursday. 

UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman, a constitutional law scholar, also announced the center’s inaugural class of 10 fellows. The scholars, students and analysts from across the country will explore such issues as the intersection of diversity and free speech, protests over police practices and challenges to safeguard the 1st Amendment amid today’s polarized politics.

Several fellows also plan to develop curricula and toolkits to help students better understand free speech issues.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge on Wednesday set a May preliminary hearing date for L.A. school board member Ref Rodriguez, making it more likely that Rodriguez, who faces criminal charges, will be on hand to cast important votes on the school board in the coming months.

Rodriguez has pleaded not guilty to the charges, including three felony counts. Prosecutors allege he engaged in political money laundering in his 2015 campaign for office.

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The unexpected departure of Los Angeles schools Supt. Michelle King — after less than two years on the job — has triggered a rarely used clause in the contract of an executive search firm: its warranty.

The contract the school district signed with Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates stated that the firm would not charge a consulting fee for a new search if the superintendent were to leave the job within two years.

USC, known nationally for its aggressive fundraising operation, saw contributions tumble in the second half of 2017, a period in which scandals roiled its medical school.

An internal accounting reviewed by The Times shows donations to the university were down nearly $100 million between July and December of last year compared with the same period in 2016. The falloff represents a 22% decline and was particularly severe at the Keck School of Medicine, where donations dropped 55%, or roughly $45 million.