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February 21, 2014 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
Venezuela's state-supported music education marvel, El Sistema, offering free instruction to nearly 600,000 young people in all corners of the country, is not without controversy. With an increasingly restive Venezuelan public protesting human rights violations and economic dysfunction, El Sistema, an agency in the executive branch of the government, cannot escape its association with the administration of President Nicolàs Maduro. But those who argue that El Sistema has always been a program above politics and an example of positive social action that is catching on around the world had powerful evidence with the exceptional Los Angeles debut Wednesday night of the Bahia Orchestra Project.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 18, 2014 | By Elaine Woo
When Lewis Yablonsky was growing up in New Jersey in the 1930s, he was beaten by poor whites for being Jewish and by black gangs for being white. He committed petty thefts, ran crooked card games and carried a switchblade for protection. Some of his closest friends wound up behind bars. "I wasn't sure where I belonged," he told The Times years later. "But when my best friend went to prison for hijacking a fur truck … I realized I had to get on one side of the law or the other. " Yablonsky chose the straight path, using his rough-and-tumble youth as a springboard to a distinguished career: He became the "Sociologist With Street Smarts," as one headline described him, an authority on youth gangs, hippies and drug addicts whose personal experiences gave him insights other scholars lacked.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 18, 2014 | By Carla Rivera
A debate at Cal State L.A. over an ethnic studies requirement turned heated Tuesday as several students tried to shout down faculty members who responded by chanting "Let her speak, let her speak. " Dozens of students crowded into a meeting of the Academic Senate, which was considering a motion that at least one of two required general education diversity classes be in Asian/Asian American studies, Chicano studies, Latin American studies or Pan-African studies, or in related courses in some other departments.
SPORTS
February 12, 2014 | By Gary Klein
To reach Omaha, where UCLA last season won its first College World Series title, the Bruins survived a Super Regional at Cal State Fullerton against a team that finished with one of the best records in the Titans' storied history. There could be another postseason showdown this season. Fullerton is ranked No. 1 in several preseason polls, UCLA between ninth and 15th. "They deserve to be No. 1," UCLA Coach John Savage said. "In terms of quality and depth, their pitching is just as good or better than it was last season.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 11, 2014 | By Carla Rivera
About 75 Cal State Los Angeles students and faculty showed up at a meeting Tuesday of the Academic Senate to demand that a course in ethnic studies be a requirement for graduation. Supporters argued that the courses are important in developing critical thinking and ensuring that the curriculum includes perspectives from all cultures.  The courses can also help students better relate to one another, especially in racially and ethnically diverse Los Angeles, said Jelani Hendrix, 23, a Pan-African studies major who addressed the senate.
SPORTS
January 31, 2014 | By Eric Sondheimer
  Junior pitcher Erik Cha of Chino Hills Ayala has committed to Cal State Fullerton, Coach Chris Vogt said. Cha, a left-hander, has been impressive in summer and fall competitions against top opponents.   Eric.sondheimer@latimes.com  
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 29, 2014 | By Carla Rivera
California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White announced a $50-million plan Wednesday to hire more experienced faculty and advisors, create more flexible class schedules and provide students more internships and other opportunities to help them graduate more quickly. The measures are part of an ambitious project over the next decade to increase graduation rates for first-time undergraduates by 10% and for community college transfers by 5%, as well as to improve the overall learning environment for students, White said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 29, 2014 | By Carla Rivera
California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White on Wednesday announced an ambitious agenda to move students more quickly to graduation by hiring more experienced faculty and advisors, increasing online courses and boosting other opportunities to help students succeed. The measures are part of a $50-million project that aims over the next decade to increase graduation rates by 10% for undergraduates and 5% for those who transfer from community colleges as well as to improve the overall learning environment for students, White said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 29, 2014 | By Carla Rivera
A veteran educator with experience in California and Texas was named Wednesday as president of California State University Long Beach. Jane Close Conoley, 66, is currently serving as dean of the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at the University of California Santa Barbara. She will succeed F. King Alexander who left in June to become president and chancellor of Louisiana State University. Her appointment was announced at a meeting of the Board of Trustees in Long Beach. Conoley will be the seventh president at the 65-year-old campus and its first female leader.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 15, 2014 | By Carla Rivera
As the California State University system announced a record number of applications Wednesday, a new study found that the system should study its placement exams, eligibility standards and other factors to determine why so many entering students are not college-ready. Reasons could include placement exams that don't accurately predict college-level performance, campuses admitting students who are not among the top third of high school graduates, inadequate high school coursework and a lack of financial incentives to improve outcomes, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office.
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