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Compulsory kindergarten: Still a bad idea

Kindergarten hasn't been its old self for a long time. After decades of increasing focus on academics, it recently became more standardized as well; the curriculum for California's 5-year-olds is now aligned with the Common Core academic standards. Kindergarten teachers are no longer preoccupied...

David Horsey

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  • A smaller, better L.A. County jail?

    A smaller, better L.A. County jail?

    A majority of the Board of Supervisors wants a smaller jail. Numerous reform advocates and thinkers want a smaller jail. The Times wants a smaller jail — because for too many years the county has squandered one opportunity after another to provide more humane and effective treatment to accused...

  • What Americans need: An 'idiot-proof' retirement system

    What Americans need: An 'idiot-proof' retirement system

    Volatility in the stock market over the last couple of weeks has caused enormous unease among investors big and small. Tens of millions of people with much of their retirement money in the market are worried about seeing a sudden plunge in prices. Many of these people will sell their stock to protect...

  • Respecting the rights of the homeless

    Respecting the rights of the homeless

    A Los Angeles City Council committee took the smart step this week of removing criminal penalties and fines from a controversial new law involving the treatment of homeless people's possessions. While it's true that city officials have a responsibility to keep the streets safe and clean, they must...

  • Joseph Stiglitz explains why the Fed shouldn't raise interest rates

    Joseph Stiglitz explains why the Fed shouldn't raise interest rates

    As central bank governors, Federal Reserve officials, economists and reporters convene for the annual economic policy retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyo., this weekend, the question on everyone's mind is: Will the Fed raise interest rates come September?

  • Ohio's nonsensical attack on abortion rights

    Ohio's nonsensical attack on abortion rights

    A bill in the Ohio Legislature that would ban a woman from having an abortion solely because of a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome is blatantly unconstitutional and probably unenforceable.

  • An end to shackling prisoners in federal court

    An end to shackling prisoners in federal court

    It's obvious that placing a criminal defendant in handcuffs and leg shackles runs the risk of prejudicing a jury. But even when only a judge is present, a policy of shackling a defendant violates his dignity, mocks the presumption of innocence and offends what the Supreme Court has called the "dignity...

  • Why L.A.'s crime rise is no surprise

    Why L.A.'s crime rise is no surprise

    After more than a decade of decline, violent crime in Los Angeles rose more than 20% during the first half of 2015, with felony assaults up 26% and robberies up 19%. Why, no one yet definitively knows. But there's plenty of speculation.

  • Autism Speaks needs to do a lot more listening

    Autism Speaks needs to do a lot more listening

    For a couple of decades now, Americans have been engaged in a wide-ranging and often heated conversation about autism. About what causes it, whether there's more of it than there used to be, and whether it can be cured. About whether autism is a disorder, a disability or a different way of being....

  • The real problem with 'pink Viagra'

    The real problem with 'pink Viagra'

    The drug has many names: flibanserin, Addyi, Ectris, Girosa or, colloquially, "pink Viagra." Whatever you want to call the long-in-the-making libido pill for women, it recently gained FDA approval despite "serious, serious safety concerns" and benefits that are "modest, maybe less than modest."...

  • A draconian remnant of the war on drugs

    A draconian remnant of the war on drugs

    One of the markers of the nation's anti-drug frenzy in the 1980s was a sharp increase in civil asset forfeitures, in which law enforcement agencies seize the cash, cars and other property that they claim are used in the commission of crimes. They are able to target and penalize a suspected drug...

  • What happens if the Senate rejects the Iran deal?

    What happens if the Senate rejects the Iran deal?

    The nuclear agreement with Iran is supported by almost every nation in the world. It has the backing of nearly the entire American security establishment, current and retired. It enjoys the overwhelming support of nuclear scientists and policy experts. There is no credible alternative.

  • A persuasive case against faith-based hiring with federal funds

    A persuasive case against faith-based hiring with federal funds

    Religious organizations long have been valuable partners with the federal government in providing services ranging from child care to drug and alcohol rehabilitation to the resettlement of refugees. But organizations that receive grants from Washington rightly must be willing to care not only for...

  • Why so many teachers quit, and how to fix that

    Why so many teachers quit, and how to fix that

    Every year, thousands of young and enthusiastic teachers all over the country start their first day of work. Within the following five years, at least 17% of them will leave the profession. Teacher attrition is especially high in poor, urban schools, where on average about a fifth of the entire...

  • Can California meet its ambitious greenhouse gas goals?

    Can California meet its ambitious greenhouse gas goals?

    When President Obama announced his controversial and ambitious Clean Power Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, Californians gave a collective yawn. The president's goal of generating 28% of the nation's electricity from renewable resources by 2030 paled next to California's...

  • My favorite writing tool: the Facebook status-update window

    My favorite writing tool: the Facebook status-update window

    When I started college in the early 2000s, late at night, as my will to finish another paragraph of Foucault evaporated, I signed onto LiveJournal, the blog host beloved by teenage girls. I trolled strangers' "journals." These weren't blogs like this paper's Company Town or Andrew Sullivan's Daily...

  • Must Paris' les dames pipi go?

    Must Paris' les dames pipi go?

    Eleven women have caught the attention of the thousands of tourists visiting Paris' celebrated Montmartre neighborhood. They are les dames pipi — the peepee ladies. Though their name suggests an avant-garde theatrical troupe, they instead represent the rearguard of one of France's less glorious...

  • Can the U.N. cure the 'cancer' in its system?

    Can the U.N. cure the 'cancer' in its system?

    Since the United Nations established a peacekeeping force in the strife-torn Central African Republic last year, civilians in that country have lodged at least 13 complaints of sexual abuse against peacekeepers. Just last week, three U.N. soldiers were accused of raping two women and a child. Earlier...

  • Abortion and the myth of 'protecting' women

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  • California, the new city state

    California, the new city state

    California is rightly regarded as one of the bluest — that is, most Democratic — and most liberal states in the nation. But California's political complexion is increasingly so distinctive that it should demand an entirely new coloration.

  • Why it's OK for taxpayers to 'snoop' on scientists

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    If the public pays your salary, citizens have the right — within limits — to see what you're doing. That's the principle at the core of the federal Freedom of Information Act and of the many similar state freedom of information laws.

  • 'Right to die' legislation: Right bill, wrong time

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    A welfare-to-work rule that hurts kids

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  • Is L.A. in another real estate bubble?

    Is L.A. in another real estate bubble?

    As home prices rise ever higher in Los Angeles, some are beginning to wonder if the region is in another housing bubble, one that's ready to burst. Real estate blogs add to the hysteria by pointing to the most ridiculous listings, the million-dollar bungalows in need of a complete renovation, the...

  • Should students be allowed to wear Confederate flag clothing?

    Should students be allowed to wear Confederate flag clothing?

    Defenders of the Confederate battle flag insist that it symbolizes heritage, not hate, but many other Americans understandably see it as an emblem of white supremacy. That's why South Carolina legislators were right to remove the flag from the grounds of the state Capitol after Dylann Roof, who...

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  • Why the absence of oversight on California's clean energy job fund?

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  • State schools chief flunks on exit exam

    State schools chief flunks on exit exam

    State schools chief Tom Torlakson is bemoaning an unfair situation that threatens the diplomas of thousands of students. He's pledged to do something about it. What the superintendent of public instruction hasn't done is acknowledge his own culpability in creating it in the first place.

  • How to get more affordable housing in Los Angeles

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    Los Angeles has an affordable housing crisis. Housing prices in Los Angeles have grown four times faster than incomes since 2000. And half of all households in the region spend more than the recommended 30% of their income on rent or mortgage payments, leaving less money for food, healthcare, transportation...

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