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January 12, 2014
Re "L.A. facing grim future, panel says," Jan. 9 Although a panel of civic leaders, which didn't include any representatives from the L.A. Unified School District, sharply criticized LAUSD, it won't be offering any recommendations on public schools. Why? As one of the major authors stated: "I'm not sure I'm qualified or anyone is qualified on this commission to really get into that. " Then why take pot shots when you aren't going to offer suggestions? People who haven't worked in education have no standing when criticizing schools.
January 6, 2014 | By Eric Sondheimer
 Dan Kelley, who helped turn Arleta into a competitive City Section Division I program, has resigned to become the coach at Santa Clarita Golden Valley. The lack of teaching jobs in LAUSD caused Kelley to move to Golden Valley, a program that has struggled in the competitive Foothill League.  
January 4, 2014
Even the noblest of efforts - such as, say, the Los Angeles Unified School District's program to give each of its 600,000-plus students Apple iPads - can suffer under the weight of bungled management. Since the district rolled out its $1 billion program - funded by construction bond money, a sticking point with letter writers - reader reaction has ranged from skepticism at the beginning to downright hostility as more problems were reported. The Times' latest article on the program, which reported that other school districts pay far less than L.A. Unified for their laptops and tablets, sparked reader indignation again.
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.
November 20, 2013
This post has been corrected. Join Times staff writer Howard Blume at 9 a.m. for another installment of our ongoing L.A. Now Live discussions about the rollout of iPads at Los Angeles Unified. In his  latest article , Blume reported that, contradicting earlier claims, Los Angeles school district officials said Tuesday that their right to use English and math curricula installed on district iPads expires after three years. At market rates, buying a new license for the curricula would cost $50 to $100 each year per  iPad , an additional cost that could surpass $60 million annually.
November 13, 2013
Join Times staff writer Howard Blume for an L.A. Now Live discussion at 9 a.m. about L.A. Unified's ideas to move forward with a trimmed-down iPad plan. The iPads have been highly controversial and the latest news - that the Board of Education agreed Tuesday to move ahead with a modified version of the project - will significantly affect students, faculty and parents. Blume reported  that during a heated debate over the $1-billion project, board members raised numerous concerns, including whether the contract with Apple should be reconsidered and whether high schools should be provided laptops instead of tablets.
November 3, 2013 | By Teresa Watanabe
Los Angeles school police have sharply curtailed the number of tickets issued for truancy to L.A. Unified students by 93.7% over the last four years, reflecting a step back from punitive disciplinary practices, according to a new report. The report, by the Community Rights Campaign - an organizing effort to shift student disciplinary actions from police to schools and communities - also found that tickets for all offenses plunged by 54.8% from 2011-12 to 2012-13. But African Americans and Latinos still receive a disproportionate number of tickets: Blacks were almost six times and Latinos were twice as likely to be ticketed than whites, according to the report released last week.
October 29, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
There are so many dramas and mini-disasters at the Los Angeles Unified School District, they have to take a number and line up for attention. First, a special meeting was called for Tuesday so that the board could set a broad vision from which future policies would flow. Then the board put off the vision thing in favor of a meeting on the more immediate, problem-riddled iPad project. Now it is delaying that discussion to devote the meeting to the topic of Supt. John Deasy, the bold but stubborn school reformer who stunned Los Angeles last week when it was revealed that he is on the verge of quitting the job he has held since 2011.
October 26, 2013 | Steve Lopez
The playground at Berendo Middle School, just west of downtown Los Angeles, looks more like the surface of an aircraft carrier than a playground. There's virtually nothing but blacktop for the roughly 1,300 students to play on - acres and acres of sun-baked tar that heats up in summer and gets slippery when it rains. And that's why there's so much enthusiasm for a beautification plan that aims to transform a corner of the campus into an oasis that would be enjoyed not just by students, but the whole community.
October 25, 2013 | By Howard Blume and Teresa Watanabe
When John Deasy took the helm of Los Angeles Unified in 2011, he was backed by the school board, mayor and civic leaders in a bid to transform the nation's second-largest school district with bold measures to improve student performance. Now Deasy's future - along with the district's direction - is in doubt at a critical point. L.A. Unified is facing new academic standards, major budget decisions and a massive iPad technology project. On Thursday, just days before his scheduled performance review by a new, less supportive school board, the school chief told some top officials that he might step down.
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