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School Districts

September 30, 2013 | By Arne Duncan and Kamala D. Harris
Millions of desks sit empty in elementary school classrooms because of truancy each year, costing schools billions of dollars, wasting public resources and squandering one of the country's most precious resources: its young people. We tend to think of truancy as something that starts in junior high or high school, but nationwide, about 1 in 10 kindergarten and first-grade students miss a month of school each year due to absences. In California, you could fill Staples Center 13 times over with the 250,000 students who missed 18 days or more last year.
September 29, 2013
A small Monterey County school district has come up with what it considers a novel approach to paying for classroom technology: voter-approved, short-term bonds. Taxpayers in the Pacific Grove Unified School District will be asked in November to pay for the technology - such as tablets for students and teachers - with a $28-million bond strictly designed for such uses. The money would be spent in intervals over time, such as every three to five years. The idea is to create a funding stream to replace worn or obsolete technology as needed.
September 6, 2013 | By Richard Winton
A dozen employees in four of the region's most financially strapped school districts have been charged with helping steal thousands of textbooks for a book buyer, and in some cases the titles would be sold back to the same schools. A 37-page indictment unsealed Thursday details a book-selling scheme in which Long Beach businessman Corey Frederick recruited employees - including two librarians, a campus supervisor and a former warehouse manager - to take thousands of books from schools in Los Angeles, Inglewood, Lynwood and Bellflower.
September 5, 2013 | By Ruthann Robson
Hey kids, what are you going to wear to school today? A miniskirt? How short? "Sagging" pants: Is that kosher? What about a do-rag? Fishnet tights? Or hoodies, tattoos, sweat pants, frayed jeans, an Afro puff or, if you're a boy, long locks? How about a breast-cancer-awareness bracelet featuring the word "boobies"? All of these are real examples of fashion choices that schools across the country have recently attempted to restrict. The wrong choice could get you kicked out of class or suspended; and if you want to fight for your right to a hoodie or a short skirt, you and your parents may have to file suit and head for court.
September 2, 2013 | By Howard Blume
Los Angeles school officials are acknowledging a new looming cost in a $1-billion effort to provide iPads to every student: keyboards. Officials so far have not budgeted that expense, but they said the wireless keyboards are recommended for students when they take new state standardized tests. If keyboards were to be provided for all 650,000 students, the cost could be more than $38 million at current retail prices. It's not clear if the district plans to provide keyboards for all, and officials were not prepared to estimate the cost during a meeting last week of a Board of Education committee that is tracking the iPad initiative.
August 28, 2013 | By Patt Morrison
It was a spur-of-the-moment thing that became momentous. Monica Ratliff, outspent by nearly $2 million, improbably won election to the L.A. Unified School District board. She's a second-generation teacher - her mother teaches Spanish at a charter school in Phoenix - and her new view, from the 24th floor of "Beaudry," the district's headquarters, is far different than it was from her schoolroom at San Pedro Elementary, on the edge of downtown. Voters in her San Fernando Valley district figured that if she could handle a classroom full of fifth-graders, she could manage the affairs of the second-largest school district in the country.
August 28, 2013 | By Kelly Corrigan
Glendale school officials have hired a company to monitor and analyze students' public social media posts, saying it will help them step in when students are in danger of harming themselves or others. After collecting information from students' posts on such sites as Facebook, Instagram , YouTube and Twitter, the Hermosa Beach company, Geo Listening, will provide Glendale school officials with a daily report, the Glendale News-Press reported this week. The report will categorize posts by their frequency and how they relate to cyber-bullying, harm, hate, despair, substance abuse , vandalism and truancy, according to the newspaper.
August 22, 2013 | By Paresh Dave
Students and staff at L.A. Unified School District can now use the Microsoft Bing search engine without having to see ads or adult-content links in their search results. The partnership between Microsoft's Bing search unit and several major school districts is aimed at providing students a safer experience online while drawing more users to the country's most-used search engine behind runaway leader Google. "We know search technology is a big part of education," said Bill Cox, Microsoft's senior director of product management.
August 16, 2013 | By Dan Loumena
Makhaela Jenkins, a seventh-grade girl in Ohio who has played youth football, has been told she can't play for her junior high team, leading to appeals for the school district to change its policies. The Liberty Union-Thurston School District in Baltimore, which is southeast of Columbus, does not allow girls to participate in contact sports with boys. The superintendent in the wake of criticism has said that the district is not violating Title IX, a regulation that gives children equal rights to participate in a program or activity that receives federal financial assistance.
August 16, 2013 | By Marcia Adair
The first day of school, one of America's great communal experiences. Pencils are sharpened, backpacks bought and outfits laid out, found to be totally lame, OMG, and laid out again. But what today's kids in Los Angeles public schools will experience on Days 2 through 180 is significantly different from what their parents enjoyed when it comes to music, art, drama and field trips. For a variety of reasons, funds available to school boards for education in California have been devastated over the last 20 years, to levels some in the industry call the worst in U.S. history.
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