December 24, 2008 -- Torrington, Conn. -- Back-to-school time for Maria Gonzalez means Friday evenings in a church basement, surrounded by 30 teens chattering in a mix of English and Spanish.
She pushes them to excel in school, though she is not a teacher. She coaches the students in dance, though she is not a dancer.
Judge Rejects State Request on Language Program
A federal judge has rejected the state's request to postpone his order to develop a new language program for the 140,000 students with limited English proficiency in Texas middle schools and high schools.
In a ruling released Friday, U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice said the program must be fixed by fall. The state had requested the delay while it appealed the order.
December 23, 2008 -- As President-elect Barack Obama and Congress begin laying the groundwork for a massive economic stimulus package, education groups are hoping for a major infusion of cash—beyond just construction projects—to help put financially struggling school districts on firmer fiscal footing.
Mr. Obama announced in a recent radio address that his administration would seek to direct a portion of a federal spending bill aimed at getting the economy back on track to school construction and to expanding broadband access in schools. The overall legislation could cost as much as $850 billion, according to published reports.
But, as more states warn of substantial cuts to K-12 spending, some school and state officials are lobbying lawmakers and the Obama transition team to include money for programs such as special education, teacher training, and grants to help districts educate disadvantaged students.
●●smf’s 2¢: When a “plan” is “floated” to roll out on Christmas Day one can assume that the idea probably doesn’t depend upon a whole lot of public scrutiny and/or discussion. Remember this: The Expo Line Construction Authority – whose sole purpose is to save money, not serve the public or promote safety – is a front for and a creature of the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The MTA’s record on pedestrian safety is is not good. And even the construction authority doesn't believe the pedestrian bridges would be safe.
San Fernando Mayor Nury Martinez, who is seeking a Los Angeles Unified school board seat, is facing a court challenge over her decision to describe herself as an "educator" on the ballot.
Martinez does not teach classes but used the term "mayor/environmental educator" with her name printed on the ballot. The phrase refers to her work heading an environmental organization that includes public education as part of its mission.
Opponent Louis Pugliese will ask a judge to remove the term "environmental educator."
Los Angeles schoolchildren learning drama from a professional actor or ballet from a skilled dancer might lose their teachers next semester if the Los Angeles Unified School District continues to freeze funding for programs employing outside contractors. District officials say the freeze will hold at least until the California Legislature reconvenes in mid-January.
Stage Raw: ARTS FREEZE FOR THE HOLIDAYS
In a cost-cutting measure, the Los Angeles Unified School District has frozen district funds until the state legislature returns to Sacramento in January to sort out the State budget gridlock. Arts for L.A. has been quick to point out that the freeze includes existing contracts for the Arts Community Partners Network (ACPN).
Arts Community Partners Network is a project that allows the LAUSD to subcontract professional artists to come into public schools, either for on-site performances or workshops with the children, from dance to music to theater. The symbiosis for all participating organizations is obvious: the arts enrich the education, the education helps build a new generation of artists and arts patrons.
An effort to name a new high school serving Carson after a fallen SWAT officer has run into controversy, as Latino residents say they want it named after labor leader Cesar Chavez instead.
In October, the City Council unanimously voted to recommend naming the school after Los Angeles police SWAT Officer Randal Simmons, who died in a shootout earlier this year.
But since then two council members - Mayor Jim Dear and Councilman Harold Williams - have had second thoughts.
Mira Winograd attended a special parents' meeting recently at Kadima Hebrew Academy unsure what to expect but "flipped out" when she heard the news. The private Jewish day school in West Hills announced it would lower tuition by an average of 20% next year to encourage financially strapped families to keep their children enrolled.
"I was truly in shock," said Winograd, whose son, Toby, is a sixth-grader. "I wanted to stand up and say, 'Thank you.' Paying for a private education is always difficult, but this has made it easier, and there are few things in the current economy, or in life, making things easy."