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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 21, 2011 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
The superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District suspended a new homework policy on Wednesday, saying it went into effect without enough public input. The policy limited homework to 10% of a student's grade; the rest would have been based on such measures as class assignments, tests and essays. The homework rules, which did not have to be approved by the Board of Education, went into effect July 1 by administrative order. The Los Angeles Times wrote about the policy June 27, the first public discussion about it. The policy drew nationwide attention and swift reaction: from praise to denunciation to confusion.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 18, 2011 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
The nation's second-largest school district officially launched itself once more into an ongoing national debate over social promotion, the practice of moving students to the next grade even when they're academically unprepared. The Los Angeles Board of Education agreed last week to begin revamping a policy that bars the advancement of unqualified students to the next grade. The rules have been loosely enforced. One proposal is to focus more intensively on struggling students in grades three, five and seven, considered key transition years.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 14, 2011 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
Local education officials are backing emergency state legislation that would give students more time to get vaccinated for whooping cough, a new requirement for California students in grades 7 through 12. The bill would give students 30 days after their academic year begins either to obtain the vaccine or provide proof of vaccination. "The existing legislation, which went into effect July 1, has not provided sufficient time for school districts, local health authorities, and parents to comply with its requirements," Los Angeles Unified School District Supt.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 14, 2011 | By Kate Linthicum and David Karp, Los Angeles Times
The Hollywood Farmers Market, whose future has been jeopardized by a months-long feud with the Los Angeles Film School, will stay where it is — for now. On Wednesday, film school officials sent a letter to the city suspending their protest against the market's application for a yearlong permit to close off a two-block stretch of Ivar Avenue to traffic on Sunday mornings. Last year, the city denied the market a permit for one of those blocks after film school officials complained that the market cut off access to a garage entrance.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 26, 2011 | By Jason Song, Los Angeles Times
Last school year, Carson High School students skipped 1,926 days of class. This year, the school reduced that figure by 20%, thanks to an aggressive intervention program that included tracking down students and meeting with parents. Much of the credit goes to Sally Stevens, one of two school attendance counselors who are responsible for finding chronic truants. "They're the ones who deal with the hard-core students, and they find a way to get them to school," said Ken Keener, Carson's principal.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 15, 2011 | By Mary MacVean, Los Angeles Times
Chocolate and strawberry milk are out. Next to go: Corn dogs and chicken nuggets. The Los Angeles Unified School District on Tuesday, with a 5-2 vote on a new dairy contract, became by far the largest district in the country to remove flavored milk from its menus, part of its effort to make school food healthier and help combat childhood obesity. The milk issue has overshadowed other changes in the district's food services division, which serves 650,000 meals a day at 1,000 sites.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 13, 2011 | By Jason Song, Los Angeles Times
Debra Engle went to a celebration of the city school district's arts program with a dark cloud hanging over her head. Like almost 7,000 other school district employees, Engle had received a preliminary layoff notice earlier this year and could lose her job by midsummer. For the last several years, the Los Angeles Unified School District has faced large budget shortfalls and the school board has approved cutting positions and programs to try to balance the budget. The nation's second-largest school system is facing an estimated $408-million shortfall, and many unions have agreed to their members' taking four unpaid days off. But, depending on the state's budget, district officials could still approve cutting jobs over the summer.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 30, 2011 | By Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times
Three decades after leaving her native Panama, Vielka McFarlane hasn't forgotten how a first-class education can transform a poor kid with a hard-knocks life. The Los Angeles charter school operator remembers leaner days and long hours helping her struggling family sell empanadas from a street cart. Her eyes mist when she speaks of her hardworking parents, who sacrificed to send her to the best schools in Panama, despite discrimination from that society's upper-class, and then to Los Angeles in 1982.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 30, 2011 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
The cafeteria fund for the Los Angeles Unified School District has run a multimillion-dollar deficit since 2007, when board members approved a plan to provide health benefits for part-time cafeteria workers, district officials said last week. The benefits have helped low-paid workers who need healthcare assistance, and the expense isn't the only one pushing food operations into the red. But the fund's cash shortfall has exacerbated a systemwide budget crunch caused mainly by the state budget crisis and declining enrollment in the state's largest school system.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 19, 2011 | By Jason Song, Los Angeles Times
The race between Bennett Kayser, the teachers union-backed candidate, and Luis Sanchez, the mayor's pick, for the Los Angeles Board of Education remained unclear Wednesday as Kayser claimed a thin lead and thousands of ballots still needed to be counted. Kayser, a retired educator, had received about 300 more votes than Sanchez, the chief of staff to the school board president, who was backed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and several labor groups and other elected officials. But more than 13,000 ballots remained to be counted throughout the city, according to the city clerk's office, and many of them are for other races, not the runoff for the school board's 5th District, which stretches from Los Feliz to Maywood.
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