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December 25, 2013 | By Stephen Ceasar
Passing periods at Belmont High School used to mean pushing your way through a hall teeming with students. Now, it is a leisurely stroll. The storied campus perched on top of a hill on the fringe of downtown was once the largest high school in the state and one of the biggest in the country. It was also the most crowded. Built to hold 2,500 at most, it peaked at 5,500 students. But today, it could use a few more. Over the last decade, enrollment has plummeted with the construction of nearby schools by the Los Angeles Unified School District.
December 22, 2013 | By Howard Blume
L.A. Unified is improving faster - in some categories much faster - than most other large, urban school systems, according to the latest results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which tests a sample of students nationwide. And while the district's overall scores remained relatively low, its progress elicited praise from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Los Angeles is among the school systems that are "examples for the rest of the country of what can happen when schools embrace innovative reforms," Duncan said.
December 19, 2013 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
The new 3-D nature tale "Walking With Dinosaurs" is nothing like its predecessors. I don't mean the creatures of the Jurassic Period, which came before the Cretaceous Period that is the movie's staging ground. Not the "Jurassic Park" period either, when that great paleontologist Steven Spielberg introduced rampaging dinosaurs to a new generation. No, I'm referring to the late 20th century when "Walking With Dinosaurs" roamed the BBC's airwaves as an excellent TV natural history series narrated by Kenneth Branagh.
December 17, 2013 | By Martha Groves and Louis Sahagun
To see teacher Rose Gilbert - a nonstop, 5-foot dynamo - in front of a high school classroom was to see a master at work. "I'm on fire," she would tell her 12th-graders in Room 204 at Palisades Charter High School, emphasizing the point by wearing a red plastic firefighter's helmet. Yet, even after more than half a century of imparting a love of Homer, Camus, Faulkner and Joyce to her youthful charges, she never seemed to burn out. Each semester for more than 50 years, into her 90s, Gilbert lectured on dozens of classic works, including "The Great Gatsby," "The Iliad" and "The Stranger.
December 16, 2013 | By Anthony York
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - Gov. Jerry Brown blasted the notion of government-imposed standards for public schools, saying he opposed efforts from Washington and Sacramento to dictate education policy. Using "data on a national or state level I think misses the point - that learning is very individual, very personal," Brown said during an on-stage interview Monday with the Atlantic magazine's James Bennet at the Computer History Museum. "It comes back to the teacher and the principal.
December 16, 2013 | Helene Elliott
The NHL was right to suspend Boston's Shawn Thornton 15 games for his premeditated assault Dec. 7 on Pittsburgh defenseman Brooks Orpik, though it should have suspended Pittsburgh forward James Neal more than five games for kneeing Boston's Brad Marchand in the head in the same game on a play that had nothing to do with hockey, civility or sense. The verdict rendered Saturday on Thornton by Brendan Shanahan, the NHL's czar of discipline, triggered predictably partisan reactions and absurd claims that Orpik was to blame because he declined Thornton's invitations to fight.
December 15, 2013 | By James Barragan
On a slightly chilly December morning a group of small children stand in a playground at the El Centrito Family Learning Center and learn some new dance moves. They wiggle their fingers, shake their hands and nod their heads to the beat of the music on the instructions of their teacher, Sonia Marroquin, as some smiling parents watch and supervise the group. It's all part of the day's hands-on lesson: to learn body parts through dance. The children and their parents are part of the Family Literacy Cooperative at El Centrito, which allows parents to attend adult school to learn English while leaving their children in a cooperative preschool environment.
December 14, 2013 | By Eryn Brown
The image projected before the classroom of Cal State L.A. students showed a pair of gleeful sky divers plunging through the air. "You're young and you're healthy.... Why do you need health insurance?" a caption asked. The answer to that question - posed in the presentation by recent graduate Carla Bracamonte, part of a cadre of new, state-funded medical insurance educators working on California campuses - is vital to efforts to overhaul the nation's healthcare system. Supporters and detractors of Obamacare are fixating on so-called "young invincibles" like the Cal State students, generally healthy adults in their 20s and 30s who don't rack up large healthcare bills.
December 13, 2013 | By Michael Muskal
Four educators, including the suspended head of the Steubenville, Ohio. schools, pleaded not guilty to charges brought by the grand jury that investigated the rape of a 16-year-old girl by two high school football players. Mike McVey, who is on paid administrative leave, and the others entered their pleas on Friday in Jefferson County court. The four were released without having to post bond. “We are confident that we are going to prevail in these cases and prove they're unfounded,” McVey's attorney, Charles Bean, told reporters.
December 10, 2013
Re "A teacher's goal-line stand," Column, Dec. 8 Kudos to Steve Lopez and The Times for recognizing the fortitude of Narbonne High School teacher Veronica Bennett, who just said "no" to USC's newly hired football coach, Steve Sarkisian, when he tried to pull one of her students who happened to be a star football player out of class last month. Just think how much more teaching could take place if Los Angeles Unified School District officials mirrored Bennett's stance: Miss instruction time for sports?
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