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Monday, March 26, 2012

Some districts begin preppy kindergarten enrollment

Several local school districts in coming weeks will begin registering youngsters for a new state-mandated program aimed at getting them ready for kindergarten. But several others have stopped short of committing fully to transitional kindergarten, citing cloudiness of funding for it.

Two Central Coast school districts fight achievement gap

Two local school districts are missing the mark when it comes to meeting the achievement needs of low-income and minority students, according to a report issued by an education advocacy group this week.

Salinas high schools shuffle administrators

Alisal High School Principal Dan Burns was appointed the district's associate superintendent of instructional services, a position previously held by Tim Vanoli. Burns will start at the district office on July 1. Vanoli will transition into Jim Earhart's position as superintendent starting next school year.

Fensterwald: Polling looks good for Brown

It was a fine weekend for Jerry Brown. He should be elated with the first polling on his revised tax initiative. And the California Teachers Assn., a strong supporter of his first initiative, has come around to back the new version, too, and committed $9 million for the June and November elections.

Capo district ignores D.A. advice on improving transparency

The Capistrano Unified School District has been accused of violating the state's Brown open-meeting laws four times over the past six years, but it won't be heeding a recommendation from the Orange County district attorney about improving transparency.

King City school district may regain local control in two years

South Monterey County Joint Union High School District could return to local control in two years if the progress being made continues, said the district's board president. But the wounds caused by the state takeover are still raw, as demonstrated by testimony Friday at the hearing of the Assembly Committee on State Takeovers.

Elk Grove Unified, teachers union reach tentative labor pact

Elk Grove Unified School District and its teachers union have ended a contentious yearlong contract battle that centered on health care premiums, confirming Wednesday they reached a tentative labor agreement.

Lagunitas parents push for charter school

A popular program at the Lagunitas School could become its own charter school if the district board accepts the petition offered next month by a group of San Geronimo Valley parents.

Report praises Modesto area charter schools

Aspire Public Schools, which operates three Modesto-area schools, was recognized as being among the top- performing charter school companies in the country.

Chino Valley Unified still faces $2 million deficit

Chino Valley Unified School District officials have approved a budget report that states the district is $2 million in the red.

Teacher pink slip system under fire

California's system for issuing layoff notices to teachers wastes money and results in too many teachers getting notices only to learn later that they won't be laid off, according to a state report.

130 LAUSD educators being investigated for possible wrongdoing

Based on information unearthed in a search of Los Angeles Unified's personnel files, the state teacher credentialing agency has opened investigations into 130 educators and the district has reported some past allegations of misconduct to law enforcement, officials said Friday.

Education reformer Michelle Rhee tells her side

Michelle Rhee, the former Washington, D.C., schools chancellor, might very well be the most controversial figure in public education these days.

LAUSD's Academic Decathlon leader looking for solution to $400,000 budget problem

The longtime coordinator of Los Angeles Unified's wildly successful Academic Decathlon hopes to strike gold -- not just at next month's national competition but in his quest for donations to continue the program in 2012-13.

State education data system, CALPADS, makes critical turn

The state’s much-maligned student longitudinal data system still has many critics and a long road ahead before fulfilling its many promises – but there appears to be strong evidence the program is finally working as designed.

Despite Brown’s budget, LEAs should prepare for pre-kindergarten

California schools should be prepared to offer age-appropriate curriculum this fall for 4-year-olds whose autumn birthdays occur after Nov. 1. That’s the message coming out of Sacramento from key lawmakers, education consultants and legislative analysts attempting to keep their district clients abreast of the state’s ever-shifting budget landscape as it relates to a newly-mandated program known as transitional kindergarten.

Michelle Rhee says StudentsFirst organization has 170,000 members in California

StudentsFirst, a new entrant on the California school reform landscape, has 170,000 members in California, according to its founder Michelle Rhee, the former Washington D.C. schools chief and wife of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.

California urged to consider non-seniority-based teacher layoffs

State legislative analyst's report also says school districts issue more pink slips than needed because of deadline issues and recommends changing the layoff notice deadline.

SF schools try to mend problems without suspension

The restorative model, which the school board has encouraged schools to adopt, focuses on getting offenders and victims to talk about their feelings, to address what they were thinking when the incident occurred, and to work together on what could make things "as right as possible."

Strong majority backs Jerry Brown's tax-hike initiative

Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said they supported the measure that the governor hopes to place on the November ballot. It would hike the sales tax and levies on upper incomes to help raise money for schools and balance the state's budget.

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