The latest news on what's going on at IDEA
June 1: Student-teacher social justice conference
Contact Jorge López
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Los Angeles Students and Teachers Organize Social Justice Conference
Student-led workshops to promote student activism and challenge injustices
LOS ANGELES (May 23, 2013) — Students from across the Los Angeles area will teach community members about a range of social justice issues at a June 1 conference that positions youth voice at the forefront of social change efforts.
Organized by a group of Roosevelt High School educators and students, the conference—East Side Stories: A Grassroots Vision for Education & Community—seeks to foster youth empowerment and community activism. The conference will be held from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at Roosevelt High School, 456 South Mathews Street, Los Angeles. Admission is free.
“We aim to include what is often absent in the conversation on public education, which is powerful, transformative student voice,” said conference organizer and Roosevelt teacher Eddie Lopez.
In the conference, Los Angeles youth from a range of high schools and community groups will share their stories of oppression and resistance in student-led workshops on quality education, food justice, LGBTQ issues, injustices facing undocumented students, and more. Also, the conference will feature a People’s Curriculum Fair for teachers organized by the People’s Education Movement, along with two prominent guest speakers: Curtis Acosta and Dr. Patrick Camangian. Acosta is a teacher in Tucson, AZ, who has been at the forefront of the movement to save ethnic studies. Camangian is a professor at the University of San Francisco whose research focuses on critical pedagogy.
East Side Stories will provide a space for agents of change of all ages to converge, learn, unite and strategize. Youth leaders and activists will analyze problems and develop plans of action, generating power and finding solutions to make Los Angeles a more just place.
“The students will not simply be presenting. They will be transforming the space into a place of action,” said Roxana Dueñas, a Roosevelt teacher.
In addition to the workshops, conference attendees will be treated to craft vendors, along with performances of spoken word poetry.
East Side Stories is the second annual conference of the Roosevelt-based Politics & Pedagogy Collective. The group created the conference in order to challenge injustices facing students and communities of color, such as inequitable access to educational resources and the criminalization of young people of color.
When: Saturday, June 1, 2013
Where: Roosevelt High School, 456 South Mathews Street, Los Angeles, CA 90033
Schedule: 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. Registration and breakfast
9 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Opening ceremony
9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Workshop session I
11 a.m. – 12 p.m. Workshop session II
12 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. Youth panel
12:30 p.m. – 2 p.m. Lunch, spoken word poetry, live music, vendors, etc.
2 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Keynote speaker and closing ceremony
Jan. 26: Restorative justice and school leadership
On Saturday, Jan. 26, approximately 100 school and community leaders filled the Robert F. Kennedy Complex Library for a panel discussion on alternative approaches to school discipline. RESTORATIVE JUSTICE AND SCHOOL LEADERSHIP—Building Safe and Inclusive Public Schools was sponsored by Los Angeles Communities for Public Education Reform and the UCLA Principals’ Center. The panel discussion featured community leaders Maisie Chin of CADRE, Alberto Retana of the Community Coalition, and Esthefanie Solano of InnerCity Struggle. It also included princpals Leyda Garcia of the UCLA Community School, Chuck Flores from the NOW Academy, Ben Gertner of CNMT at Roosevelt High School, and Jose Navarro of the Social Justice Humanitas Academy. UCLA Professor John Rogers facilitated the panel. His introductory comments are copied below.
I welcome you on behalf of UCLA’s Principals’ Center and the Los Angeles network of Communities for Public Education Reform. Communities for Public Education Reform is a network of community-based organizations in cities across the United States that advocate for well-resourced, equitable, safe, and inclusive public schools. We have brought together both school and community leaders for this conversation because school discipline and school safety are issues we share together.
This is an important conversation, but a difficult one. One of the panelists told me earlier this week that: “This area of schooling brings out the best and worst of everybody.” It is about our profound commitments to do right by young people within a broader political and cultural environment that often valorizes violence while undervaluing young people, particularly young people of color.
I wanted to begin this morning with the words of Sylvia Rousseau, a former principal and district administrator here in LA. I interviewed Sylvia last week about the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. One question I asked was what lessons she draws for school leaders today from Dr. King's philosophy of non-violence? Here’s what Dr. Rousseau said:
“Discrimination and oppression have hurt a lot of children for a very long time, and they bear the marks from generations past. Some students come to school with their hurts, which cause them to act in ways that are harmful to themselves and others. School doesn't mean a whole lot to them. When they manifest these issues in their behavior, you can't let them tear up the schools, and you don't want to suspend them. So we need to have resources that are preventive, recognizing the issues our students face. The classroom has to be a place of respect, shaped by a curriculum and pedagogy that respects their lives. It’s about creating better schools where students have opportunities to be problem-solvers and creators. They require support in managing their challenges while they adopt identities as high achieving students. That is the role of a liberating education. Anything less reduces students to widgets or what Freire would call mere objects.”
I start here with Dr. Rousseau because her words highlight the complexity of the issue we come here to discuss today. The problems that present themselves in schools have deep roots that require nuanced understanding and holistic responses. Dr. Rousseau’s comments also suggest that the stakes are high here. The way that we approach school discipline has a profound effect on how we think about the humanity of young people and the possibilities for their development.
Today, we are fortunate to be able to engage this topic with a panel of school and community leaders that have a history of grappling with these issues.
November election: A look at Propositions 30 & 38
There are two measures on the state's November ballot that aim to raise revenues for public schools. Proposition 30 will raise about $6 billion for public k-12 schools and community colleges. Proposition 38 will raise about $10 billion for public k-12 schools. The campaigns have caused confusion for many voters. There's real concern that voters will reject both measures. And, however unlikely, should both initiatives pass, the one with the most votes will take effect.
We encourage all Californians to learn about the different propositions so they can make informed decisions come November 6.
June 13: Experts and advocates discuss implications of LAUSD's teacher agreement
Last week, Los Angeles Unified reached a tentative agreement with United Teachers Los Angeles that would save more than 4,000 positions. The union agreed to 10 furlough days, including five instructional days for the 2012-13 school year. The cuts amount to about a 5-percent pay cut.
The final number of furlough days could change, since the agreement is tied to Gov. Jerry Brown's November tax initiative. If it passes, district officials are to use any year-end surpluses to reduce the number of unpaid days.
The LAUSD board approved the measure Tuesday. Union members are expected to vote on the measure this week.
In a Los Angeles' Times piece today, researchers and equity advocates discuss how the deal will affect students, especially since it could potentially cut the school year by another week, and how the current seniority-based system affects teachers. Some argued for a value-added evaluation system.
However, IDEA director John Rogers, said that type of system would be unreliable and that the real solution is to increase the state's education funding. "Does California, with all of its wealth, really need to face this Hobson's choice? Californians invest a smaller percentage of income on public education than the national average and considerably less than most states."
June 9: Los Angeles youth organize social justice conference
A group of students from Los Angeles Unified's Roosevelt High School organized a social justice conference to let ensure their voices are heard.
East Side Stories: Youth Transformation Across Los Angeles will feature student-led workshops--including some by IDEA's Council of Youth Research--on student activism, access to quality education and challenges facing undocumented youth.
The conference will be held Saturday, June 9 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Roosevelt High School, 456 S. Mathews St. Admission is free.
The conference is organized by the Politics & Pedagogy Collective, a Roosevelt High-based group created to challenge injustices facing students and communities of color.
For more details on the conference and contacts, read the PRESS RELEASE: Los Angeles students and teachers organize social justice conference.
May 4: IDEA answers key questions about LAUSD a-g policy
For more information, contact: Marisa Saunders, IDEA Senior Research Associate
email@example.com | 310-267-4409
A-G Implementation within the Los Angeles Unified School District:
Questions and Answers
This fall, Los Angeles Unified School District’s entering freshmen will be required to complete the A-G course sequence in order to graduate. Concerned that incoming freshmen have not been adequately prepared to meet this requirement, the LAUSD is proposing to lower the number of credits required for graduation from 230 credits to 180 credits. According to the district, “reducing the graduation credits would give students more flexibility with their schedules to repeat classes to get tutoring during the school day due to limited availability for Summer School after State budget cuts.” Indeed, faced with collapsing budgets and diminished support for teachers’ professional development, class size reduction, along with summer school, proponents want to pare down course offerings and graduation requirements.
The LAUSD Board of Education approved the Resolution to Create Educational Equity Through the Implementation of the A-G course Sequence as part of the District’s High School Graduation Requirement on June 14, 2005. This resolution sought to remedy long-standing inequalities in access to college preparatory courses across Los Angeles high schools that contributed to unequal patterns of college-going. It called for the district to: a) implement a rigorous and relevant A-G course sequence for all students entering 9th grade after 2008; b) align the k-12 curriculum with this new goal; and c) provide learning supports across the grade span to ensure that all students are prepared to enter and succeed in the A-G course sequence. The goal was to improve the learning conditions and increase opportunities for all students while raising the bar.
While LAUSD’s proposal is in keeping with the letter of the 2005 resolution, it raises a number of questions and concerns regarding its ability to make good on the promise of the resolution – to expand opportunities for all students. Below are a number of questions that have been posed and responses to those questions, based on available data and research.
Q. What is the average number of credits required to graduate from a high school in California?
A: In order to graduate from California public high schools, students must complete specified state and local graduation requirements. Local school districts have the authority and responsibility for establishing high school graduation requirements, and they vary among districts. However, California Education Code specifies that students must pass a minimum set of required courses and an exit examination.1 Most California public high schools require the equivalent of between 22 and 26 yearlong courses or between 220 and 260 local units for high school graduation.
Q: Have other districts that have implemented an A-G graduation requirement lowered the number of credits needed for graduation?
A: No. For example, the Board of Education of the San Jose Unified School District (SJUSD) approved new high school graduation requirements in 1998 that included completion of the A-G requirements. All SJUSD high school students, beginning with the Class of 2002, were required to complete a total of 240 credits. All SJUSD courses are college preparatory courses that fulfill UC/CSU admission requirements. Other large urban school districts such as San Francisco Unified, Oakland Unified, San Diego Unified and East Side Union have similar A-G graduation requirements in place for the class of 2016 or earlier years. These districts have not lowered the number of credits required for graduation. In addition, a number of these districts also require that seniors complete a senior project or exhibition to graduate.
First Graduating ClassRequired to Satisfy A-G
Minimum No. of CreditsRequired for Graduation
|San Francisco Unified||2014||230|
|East Side Union||2015||220|
|San Diego Unified||2016||220|
Q: Given statewide budget cuts, is there a trend in California to reduce the number of credits required for graduation?
A: No. Indeed, a number of districts are currently proposing to raise the number of credits required for graduation. Palo Alto Unified School District is proposing to increase the number of credits required for graduation from 210 to 220 to create better alignment between graduation requirements and college entrance requirements. Porterville Unified School District has increased the school day for high school students to seven periods, and is now raising graduation requirements beyond the 220 credits currently needed for graduation. Some high schools within Porterville encourage students to complete 260 credits to be college and career ready.
Q: What can we learn from districts that have an A-G requirement in place?
A: A great deal. In particular, the large amount of data that the SJUSD has compiled over the last decade dispels a number of myths regarding what would happen if all students were required to fulfill the A-G course sequence.2 Three findings stand out. First, longitudinal data demonstrates that grades within SJUSD have remained unchanged as students have enrolled in more rigorous coursework. The average grade point average for SJUSD graduating seniors has remained approximately the same (at 2.76) between 1998 (before A-G) and 2008. Second, high school graduation rates have remained steady between these years (at 71%). This fact is all the more noteworthy since the exit exam requirement came into effect after SJUSD adopted it’s A-G policy. Third, students who have been traditionally underserved and previously assigned to the non-college bound track are achieving at more advanced levels. Latino students have made steady gains on statewide standardized test scores since 1999, and the gap between Latino and white students has narrowed by 38%.
LAUSD has an opportunity to continue to challenge these myths.
Q: How many students within the Los Angeles Unified School District are currently graduating from high school? And, will the A-G graduation requirement negatively impact graduation rates from the LAUSD?
A: Graduation rates in LAUSD have improved modestly in recent years, but remain very low. Of the 46,133 students that entered high school as freshmen in 2007-08, slightly more than half (56%) graduated four years later. Indeed, the district must grapple with its graduation rate problem, whether or not the A-G graduation requirement goes into effect. The question is whether three additional courses that comprise the A-G graduation requirement (an additional year of a sequential math course and two years of a foreign language) will lead graduation rates to drop. Data from other districts suggest that this need not be the case.
The district’s proposal directly responds to the dropout crisis. A-G aside, the proposal aims to reach out to the 44% of students who are currently leaving the district without a high school diploma. Providing an opportunity for these students to remain in school and make up classes they have previously failed is a laudable goal. However, it does not satisfy or respond directly to the intent of the A-G Resolution – to expand opportunities for all LAUSD students.
To respond adequately to the dropout crisis, the district must address its instructional practices and strategies.
Q: How many students with the Los Angeles Unified School District are currently graduating from high school with successful completion of the A-G course sequence?
A: According to the LAUSD, only 15% of entering 9th graders in 2007-08 graduated in June 2011 having successfully completed the A-G requirements (passing all A-G courses with a grade of “C” or better). A large number of students come close to completing the A-G course sequence, but fall short (30 credits or less). These “near-completers” fail to enroll in the full sequence of courses or do not earn a grade of “C” or better in an A-G course. Unfortunately, we do not have access to data that allows us to determine how many additional LAUSD students were “near-completers” in the graduating class of 2011. Nor do we have data that informs us of how many students completed the sequence, but did not earn a grade of “C” or better (but earned a “D” or “F” grade).
A 2008 study conducted by UCLA IDEA of the graduating class of 2006 sheds some light on this question. According to this study, one in three LAUSD graduates fell short of meeting the A-G requirements by 30 credits or less. These students completed at least 80% of the A-G requirements with grades of “C” or better. The high incidence of “near A-G” speaks loudly to the need to identify course bottlenecks that prevent A-G completion and the need to identify practices that allow for successful completion of these courses.3
Q: Will the new proposal impact course offerings at LAUSD high schools?
A: Yes, but this likely will play out differently across schools. In order to provide students with the opportunity to make up failed A-G courses, schools will have to replace current course offerings with additional sections of A-G course offerings. While schools will continue to offer “electives” that satisfy the A-G requirements (1 year of a Visual and Performing Arts Elective and 1 year of an A-G elective), these offerings will most likely decrease at some schools. For example, a sequence of three drama courses (that enable students to increase their knowledge and skills in this area of interest) might be replaced with greater offerings of introductory drama courses to ensure all students have access to the required visual and performing arts elective. Similarly, a school that currently offers two different Calculus courses may need to eliminate one so that the math teacher can teach additional Algebra 1 or Algebra II courses.
Schools will respond differently to the 180 credit graduation requirement based on school size, Program Improvement status, and population of students being served. Schools serving greater percentages of struggling students will have to limit course offerings more so than schools serving students who enter high school well prepared for college preparatory courses.
Q: Will charters or pilot schools be impacted by the reduction of credits required for graduation?
A: It is not clear if charter schools will reduce the number of credits required for graduation. If they do not, charter schools will be able to provide students with courses that many LAUSD high schools will no longer be able to offer.
Q: Are there high schools within the Los Angeles Unified School District that are currently graduating high numbers of students with the A-G requirements?
A: Yes. A study conducted in 2008 found that attending a small LAUSD high school increases a student’s chance of graduating on time by 25% and more than doubles a student’s odds of completing the A-G sequence of courses.4 Notwithstanding the strong relationship between the pre-high school academic experiences of students and on time high school and A-G completion, the study reveals that pre-high school experiences alone do not account for all the variation that is seen in outcomes across the district. Some schools within LAUSD are more effective than others in enabling students to graduate on time and with the necessary preparation to enter California’s public university system.
In particular, the study points to small size, theme-oriented and/or interdisciplinary curricula that engage students as “more effective.” Seventy-one percent of first-time freshmen attending small schools in 2001-02 graduated on time and 54% completed the A-G sequence of courses. LAUSD small schools are more likely to be successful with first-time freshmen with limited English skills, and those that enter high school underprepared. These schools often share structures such as block scheduling that allows for students to take additional courses (including recovery courses) during the school day.
Q: Does the number of credits accumulated matter for entry into California’s public four-year institutions (UC/CSUs)?
A: Yes, it matters. While students must take the “right” courses (A-G), four-year universities are interested in students who go beyond the minimum requirements, and demonstrate an interest in engaging deeply in their learning. Students demonstrate deep engagement by enrolling in advanced and/or capstone courses. If these courses are no longer offered at some schools, students will face an uneven playing field in college admissions.
Incoming CSU and UC freshmen take courses well beyond the minimum 15 required A-G courses. Across CSU campuses, for example, incoming freshmen from California public high schools entered witha an average of 200 A-G high school credits in fall 2011.5 Further, freshmen profile data demonstrates that the number of A-G credits earned has steadily increased each year across UC and CSU campuses.
Freshmen Profile at Select California Public Four-Year Institutions, 20096
|Avg. A-G credits||AP/IB/Honors|
Q: Can the district raise the required number of credits for graduation back to 230 once the economy recovers and the district has funds for necessary support services?
A: Yes, however, it will be extremely difficult. Raising the number of credits required for graduation impacts schools, staffing, and students. As such, most districts do not propose an increase of more than 10 credits a year (one year-long course). It would take LAUSD five years, at a rate of 10 credits a year, to get back to the current requirement of 230 credits.
Q: What next?
A: LAUSD officials have expressed a strong commitment to equal opportunity and to preparing all students for college, career and life beyond high school. As deliberations on graduation requirements move forward, it will be important to assess policy options with these goals in mind. What steps does the district need to take to ensure equitable opportunities across its high schools? How can it ensure that students at all LAUSD high schools experience a broad and robust curriculum? How can it ensure that students at every LAUSD high school have a meaningful opportunity to enroll in a course of study that will make them competitive for admission at any California college and university?
1 More information available at: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/gs/hs/hsgrgen.asp
2 For more information see San Jose Unified School District Case Study, The Education Trust West, January 2010. Available at: http://www.edtrust.org/sites/edtrust.org/files/publications/files/San%20Jose%20Unified%20Case%20Study.pdf
3 For more information see The Impact of High Schools on Student Achievement within the Los Angeles Unified School District, UCLA IDEA, 2008. Available at: http://idea.gseis.ucla.edu/publications/documents/the-impact-of-high-schools-on-student-achievement-within-the-los-angeles-unified-school-district
4 For more information see The Impact of High Schools on Student Achievement within the Los Angeles Unified School District, UCLA IDEA, 2008. Available at: http://idea.gseis.ucla.edu/publications/documents/the-impact-of-high-schools-on-student-achievement-within-the-los-angeles-unified-school-district
6 University of California data available at: http://statfinder.ucop.edu/statfinder/drawtable.aspx?track=1
March 2: LA hearing on status of young men of color
Last month, the California Assembly Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color held its hearing in Oakland. Now, the hearing will continue the conversation in Los Angeles.
Claiming the Promise of Health and Success for Boys and Men of Color will focus on school discipline and law enforcement policies. It will look into various Los Angeles models in health, education and juvenile justice, which could be expanded.
IDEA Director John Rogers will once again present on the high school graduation rates for male students of color, along with numbers of college-readiness.
WHEN: Friday, March 2
TIME: 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
WHERE: Expo Center, located at 3980 Bill Robertson Lane, Los Angeles, CA 90037
MORE INFO and to RSVP: Committee Chair Sandré R. Swanson's site
Feb. 10-11: Social Justice Schools Conference
The Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ) will hold a two-day conference Friday and Saturday to discuss school transformation and reform rooted in social justice.
IDEA Director John Rogers will speak during Saturday morning panel about educational justice in an era of new capitalism.
Also speaking will be Bill Fletcher, labor leader and civil rights activist. Fletcher will discuss the attacks on public sector and the need for organizing strategy.
The conference will also hold more than 10 workshops led by students, parents and teachers on current work that embodies community-driven, democratic, culturally relevant and transformative practices.
- Balanced Literacy
- Dual Language Programs
- Alternative Teacher Evaluation Systems
- Problem-based, community-connected instruction
- Restorative justice/alternative discipline
Social Justice Schools Conference
WHEN: Friday, Feb. 10 - Saturday, Feb. 11
TIME Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
LOCATION: UCLA Community School, 3201 W. 8th St., Los Angeles, CA 90005
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 909-753-9007
*Childcare, food and translation services provided both days
Jan. 29: Oral history series highlights Council leader
"Dropout has thanks, not blame, for teacher" aired Sunday on NPR's Weekend Edition as part of the National Teachers' Initiative, which relates stories of public school teachers across the country. The initiative is part of StoryCorps, an American oral history nonprofit.
Garcia, a teacher at Manual Arts High School in East Los Angeles, was reunited with a former student who had dropped out of high school in his senior year.
Roger Ramos, now 22, was asked if anything could have been done differently that would have helped him stay in school.
"...you were a good teacher, and I always respected you," Ramos said of Garcia. "Some teachers, I kind of felt like they only wanted to teach a certain group of people. But you looked at me and you paid attention.
"Maybe it didn't get me to graduate, but there's a lot of teachers, they don't take the time to take a look. And it was never your fault."
Listen to the full conversation.
New information on high school reform
A new Q&A on Linked Learning has been uploaded to our site.
For those interested in high school reform and want to learn a more about this approach that connects academics with real-world applications, visit our Linked Learning page. There you'll find links to the new Q&A and upcoming research.
UCLA IDEA will soon publish a Linked Learning guidebook, based on our research of 10 sites throughout California.
Jan. 4: Changes to online 'Roundup'
Starting Wednesday, Jan. 4, the UCLA IDEA website will no longer post individual articles from the daily Education News Roundup.
A link from the IDEA Home page will be provided to the most current version of the Roundup.
The change will not affect subscribers who will continue to receive the Roundup and Themes in the News as a daily email. It will also continue to be available on Twitter @UCLA_IDEA and on Facebook.com/uclaidea.
The website will also stop archiving past news stories, opinions and blogs. Anyone interested in finding a past copy of the Roundup or story, can contact Claudia Bustamante at 310-267-4408 or email@example.com.
Read today's roundup here.
Dec. 16: California's 'Parent Trigger' law draws international attention
England-based Times Education Supplement wrote about the growing U.S. movement of giving parents more power in reforming low-performing schools.
California was the first state to pass a Parent Trigger law, allowing parents to seek one of four reform options if more than half families at low-performing schools sign a petition. Last year, parents at Compton's McKinley Elementary were the first to "pull the trigger."
UCLA IDEA John Rogers was interviewed for the piece, The view from here - California, US - "Trigger law" allows parents to call the shots. He was particularly concerned with the trigger/gun metaphor. "Rather than encouraging parents and educators to collaborate in the search for solutions, it pits one against the other. Rogers understands why parents are angry, but fears the focus on a one-time mobilisation offers only an illusion of power," according to the article.
Read full article here.
Oct. 9: Should schools share the money they fundraise?
Should schools share their fundraising profits with others in their districts whose families cannot afford to do the same?
That was the main question tackled by Davis-based Jill Duman, "a journalist, parent and part-time playground attendant," in an opinion piece in Sunday's Sacramento Bee.
The point is to give all students quality and equitable schooling. When bake sale dollars are being used to hire teacher aides, refurbish computers, maintain arts programs, better-off schools will be able to fill in the holes where the state and federal budgets have not.
"To me, it speaks to an erosion of the principle that public schools are going to be funded through a common public fund, that no matter what town you are in, you are going to have the same chance to be successful," said IDEA Director John Rogers.
As IDEA noted in our 2011 Educational Opportunity Report, there is a great discrepancy in the amount of fundraising between low-, middle- and high-income communities. Schools with high poverty (noted by the number of students in free- or reduced-price lunch program) raised an average of $5,000, whereas more well-off schools raised up to $100,000.
According to Duman, this reality prompted one Northern California school district to change its policy so that money raised at any one of its three elementary schools would be shared equally. But others think hard-earned funds should stay with the students, parents and campus that fundraised for them.
Read the full op-ed: The Conversation: Should the haves share the dollars they raise with the have-nots?
Oct. 4: Book Talk on community organizing
Join UCLA IDEA Tuesday, Oct. 4 for a discussion with authors of A Match on Dry Grass: Community Organizing as a Catalyst for School Reform.
Harvard Graduate School of Education professors Mark R. Warren and Karen L. Mapp, and doctoral student Soojin Oh will be on-hand to discuss the book and their work in the national research study.
A Match on Dry Grass suggests that community organizing is a promising approach to school reform as part of a broader agenda to build power for low-income communities and address the profound social inequalities that affect the education of children. Based on a comprehensive national study, the book presents rich and compelling case studies of prominent organizing efforts in Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Denver, San Jose, and the Mississippi Delta.
DATE: Tuesday, Oct. 4
TIME: 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
LOCATION: UCLA Moore Hall Reading Room, 3340 Moore
MORE: For more information on the national study, visit www.matchondrygrass.org and to purchase the book, visit Oxford University Press page.
Sept. 30: CPER PowerPoint Presentation
UCLA IDEA Director John Rogers gave a presentation Sept. 30 to a statewide CPER convening in South Los Angeles.
Rogers was part of panel outlining the landscape of California. Other presenters included Scott Graves with the California Budget Project, Sabrina Smith with California Calls and Roberta Furger of Pico California.
Analyzing the most up-to-date data, his presentation detailed how California schools have fared in the last three years, and how the state compares to the rest of the nation. Also available here is the presentation made by California Budget Project's Graves, who detailed how California's budget reflects the state's priorities. In particular, Graves noted that support for k-12 and community colleges will be $6.8 billion lower in 2011-12 than it was in 2007-08.
CPER-CA (Communities for Public Education Reform) is a funders' collaborative promoting advocacy and organizing for quality education.
Download the PowerPoints by clicking on the title slides up top.
Sept. 26: Discussion lacks in Education Nation piece on Parent Trigger
Education Nation, NBC's initiative to discuss education issues, looked at California's Parent Trigger law Monday night. The law would institute radical changes (including school closures or charter conversion) to a handful of underperforming schools if 51 percent of parents or families voted for it.
California was the first state to enact this legislation, but two others have moved ahead with similar laws and many more are considering it. Last year, parents at Compton's McKinley Elementary were the first to put it to the test, petitioning for a charter school. It is currently tied up in legal battles.
IDEA Director John Rogers was interviewed for the piece. Though the Parent Trigger allows parents to express their frustrations, he said, there are no assurances within the law for parents to be meaningfully involved after a shake-up. His aired comments (at 2 minute-mark) do not reflect the full dialogue surrounding Parent Trigger and the concerns it raises.
We invite you to read our Sept. 16 Themes in the News about Parent Trigger and the difference between "Mobilizing and Organizing for Better Schools."
Another good read:
"Trigger Laws: Does signing a petition give parents a voice?" - Rethinking Schools, Fall 2011
Aug. 26: Latest numbers on students in higher education conceal larger issues
The number of 18- to 24-year-olds attending college reached an all-time high 12.2 million in October 2010, according to a recently released Pew Hispanic Center report evaluating census data.
The largest growth came from the Latino population, which grew by 349,000 students or 24 percent. During the same period, young black students grew by 88,000 and Asian Americans by 43,000. The white student population, however, decreased by 320,000.
UCLA IDEA Director John Rogers said there were many factors that can contribute to the increase in student population, including an acknowledgement among Latino families of the importance of a higher education.
UCLA IDEA Director John Rogers warned that the new numbers may not paint a completely rosy picture.
The economy has played an important role, Rogers said during an interview with La Opinión. As more people find themselves jobless, going back to school for more preparation or for career changes has become an alternative.
"And so, part of the increase in those numbers is due to the fact that people who were part of the labor market are now unemployed," he said.
Though experts laud the increase in students of higher education, they caution that the more important data are the numbers of students who graduate with degrees or transfer to four-year colleges and universities.
In that respect, Latino students lag behind their counterparts, the article mentioned.
Aug. 23: Charter discussion on Which Way, LA?
The California Charter Schools Association received a $15-million gift Tuesday from the Walton Family Foundation to increase the number of charter students statewide by 100,000.
Los Angeles, which already has more charters and charter-school students than other districts nationwide, will see a big impact from this grant, increasing its charter student population by 20,000.
John Rogers, IDEA director, and Jed Wallace, president and CEO of the charter school association, joined KCRW's Which Way, LA? Tuesday night to discuss the grant and its possible impacts for students, particularly in the Los Angeles area.
The grant is the largest ever received by the California Charter Schools Association, but it comes at a time when the state has reduced funding to public schools. Also discussed were the implications that this move could undermine unions. Charters have more flexibility than school districts in running schools, and they aren't required to abide by labor contracts, though some do hire unionized teachers. Walmart has opposed unions for its employees.
"This matters because many of these school workers in traditional public schools are also parents of public school students," Rogers said. "You want to create healthy communities in which families are able to support their children. When we don't employ workers and provide them with what they need, we can't do that."
Rogers also said that the grant could also negatively affect public school students because it has the potential to divert attention from the real economic problem in the state, "which is to invest in public schools at a level that allows them to be successful for all the young people that are there."
Aug. 17: Status of boys and men of color
IDEA Director John Rogers and graduate student researcher Rhoda Freelon will present information this afternoon before the first hearing of the Assembly Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color (BMOC).
The committee, chaired by Sandré R. Swanson (D-Oakland), will examine key issues affecting the health and well-being of men of color. After a year of hearings throughout the state, recommendations will be made in the key areas of education, health, employment and wealth, violence prevention, youth development and juvenile justice.
IDEA will brief the legislators on the state of education for students of color. Some key findings include:
- Schools that enroll 90 percent students of color are more likely to be "critically overcrowded" and have severe shortages of qualified teachers.
- Male students of color were more likely to be suspended than their female counterparts or white students.
- Students are less likely to enroll in AP courses or take the SAT exam in their senior year. And when they graduate, they're less likely to have completed the necessary A-G courses for enrollment in a UC or Cal State.
When: Wednesday from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Where: California State Capitol, Room 437
Presentation: IDEA PowerPoint on education indicators of boys of color
Council of Youth Research moves beyond school community
The Council of Youth Research will take their research to the streets. Diverging from previous years, the council -- made up of students from Crenshaw, Locke, Manual Arts, Roosevelt and Wilson high schools -- will use the research expertise it has gained in more than a decade of work to enact change in their communities.
Each high school group will partner with an organization for the full year. They will start with a research proposal outlining the problem paced by the community and why it is important to address it. The partnerships will be:
- Crenshaw High with Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ)
- Locke with Association of Raza Educators
- Manual Arts with Brotherhood Crusade
- Roosevelt with InnerCity Struggle
- Wilson with Wilson People's Garden
The Council will also be sharing their knowledge with the general public by creating a video webinar about their research process. The resource could be used by other youth groups across the country interested in engaging in meaningful research in their communities.
For more information on the Council, visit their blog Young Critical Minds.
Aug. 1: Nonprofits filling gap left by summer school
A recent KPCC story highlighted how lack of access to enriching summer programs can negatively impact students from low-income, working-class families.
Research indicates that the "summer slide"--when children forget some of what they've learned during the idle months--is greater for poor students than it is for their more well-off classmates.
"So many policymakers have strongly recommended that we target summer learning opportunities to high-poverty students," said IDEA Director John Rogers in the KPCC piece.
"California is going in exactly the opposite direction because as we cut back summer school, upper middle-class kids and affluent kids have access to programs that their parents can pay for."
The KPCC piece takes a look at the efforts of Santa Ana Unified School District to curb the slide by partnering with local nonprofits even as the district cut its summer school spending by $1 million.
As funding cuts worsened a few years ago, Santa Ana Unified’s [Michelle] Rodriguez says, the district began to look for options rather than wait for Superman to save them. "The district administration had the foresight to know they needed to make partnerships with other organizations so that our students didn’t suffer due to the financial deficits, so because of that there was never a year where there was a lag."
June 24: OC Legislative Summit to discuss education, graduation rates
IDEA research and policy director featured guest of Assemblyman Jose Solorio's legislative summit
IDEA Research and Policy Director Sophie Fanelli will be a featured speaker at a legislative summit hosted by Assemblyman Jose Solorio, D-Santa Ana.
The summit will include guest speakers on local and state issues, including graduation rates in Orange County.
Apart from Fanelli, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and Michele Siqueiros, executive director of The Campaign for College Opportunity, will be featured speakers.
Aside from education, the summit will also focus on jobs, public safety, along with other issues.
Friday, June 24
Bowers Museum, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana
4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
June 19: NY Times letter urges diversity in field of computer science
Jane Margolis' letter to the editor published
A recent New York Times' article "Computer Studies Made Cool, on Film and Now on Campus" about the increased interest in computer science majors led IDEA senior researcher Jane Margolis to write to the editor.
Though welcoming the uptick, Margolis' cautioned that it was important to consider the people admitted, especially since women and minorities are still underrepresented in the field.
Margolis is the author of two award-winning books: Stuck in the Shallow End: Education, Race, and Computing and Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing
In the letter, Margolis wrote:
Without continuing, concerted efforts by a community of computer science educators, social scientists, education reformers, nonprofit organizations and industry to increase the numbers of women and underrepresented minorities in computer science, the latest surge in interest may risk worsening the persistent representational disparities.
Now, more than ever, is the time to be vigilant with the commitment to diversity so that a field that is changing everything about our world reflects the full richness of our heterogeneous population.
June 3: State of CA education: Dismal
"The state of education in California: Dismal" refers to the billions cut in education spending--visibly increased class sizes, fewer electives, no music or arts classes, shorter school years--and how the cuts exist side-by-side with an increased focus on testing, especially through federal legislation and incentive programs.
Click for full op-ed.
May 20: Solving CA's civic engagement problem
IDEA Director panelist on Zócalo Public Square's discussion on civic disengagement
UCLA IDEA Director John Rogers was a panelist on Thursday night's Zócalo Public Square at the Petersen Automotive Museum. The topic--Why Don't Californian's Talk About Politics?--hoped to delve into why Californians are simultaneously angered by a broken governing system and civically disengaged. Voter registration is low and even just the rate that Californians discuss politics with family and friends is among the lowest in the nation. Joining Prof. Rogers were Pete Peterson, executive director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at Pepperdine University, Karen Thoreson, president of the Arizona State University Alliance for Innovation, and R. Michael Alvarez, political scientist at CalTech.
FOR FULL COVERAGE (including photos and video) of the discussion and steps that can be taken to engage more citizenry, visit zocalopublicsquare.org/thepublicsquare/2011/05/19/we-need-to-talk/read/event-rundown/
April 28: our IDEA on parcel taxes in the New York Times
Director John Rogers comments about the unintended consequences of parcel taxes.
With the state facing a $26 billion deficit and no likelihood of a special June election to extend about $9 billion worth in taxes, school districts are looking into other options to close their growing budget gaps.
For many districts, a popular choice is a parcel tax, a temporary measure that imposes a fee on properties to raise funds for a number of school priorities, such as preventing layoffs, keeping valuable programs, maintaining infrastructure, etc. They require a two-thirds vote to pass.
They are expensive to place on a ballot, and since 1983, only 54 percent of 500 have met the threshold, most of them in affluent neighborhoods.
Scholars, meanwhile, worry that parcel taxes are corroding the state’s commitment to equal access in public education.
“Parcel taxes become a way to allow more affluent and privileged districts to secure the conditions for their district that cannot be provided to the state as a whole, given the current level of taxation,” said John Rogers, the director of U.C.L.A.’s Institute for Democracy, Education and Access, who has studied parcel taxes at length.
To read the full article, click here.
April 21: Federal commission studying education finance disparity
IDEA Director or Research and Policy to provide testimony before the U.S. Education Department's Equity and Excellence Commission
The U.S. Department of Education's Equity and Excellence Commission will host a town hall meeting today in San Jose to examine disparities in meaningful educational opportunities for students.
Prior to the town hall, the commission will hold a hearing which will include testimony from UCLA IDEA. Sophie Fanelli, IDEA director of research and policy, will share findings from the latest Educational Opportunity Report, titled Free Fall: Educational Opportunities in 2011, and discuss another area of research -- Linked Learning.
Established earlier this year, the commission is made up of 27 members from a range of backgrounds, including education, tax, law, government, business and civil rights. Its purpose is to help the federal government increase educational opportunity by improving school funding equity.
The commission, which will hold a series of town halls to gather public input, will examine disparities in educational conditions and opportunities that engender achievement gaps among minorities and low-income students.
Participating in today's town hall are Stephen Chen, commission's executive director, U.S. Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., Russlynn Ali, assistant secretary for the Office of Civil Rights within the education department. Presentations will also be made by John Affeldt, managing attorney of the nonprofit Public Advocates and lead counsel in Williams v. California, a class-action lawsuit filed in 2004 alleging that the state and various agencies had failed to adequately provide students--especially those in low-income neighborhoods--with learning materials, qualified teachers and safe and secure environments.
For more information on the Equity and Excellence Commission, visit www.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/eec/index.html
Town Hall Information:
WHEN: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. tonight
WHERE: San Jose City Hall, located at 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
April 8-12: IDEA at AERA
IDEA researchers will be presenting our work to national audiences in New Orleans this weekend
IDEA's ongoing research in the fields of high school reform, opportunity gaps, educational equity and youth research and civic engagement will be presented before an international audience this weekend at the annual American Educational Research Association's conference in New Orleans.
The conference, held from April 8 to 12, brings together researchers in relevant education fields to discuss their work and implementation practices.
This year, various people and projects from UCLA's Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access will be featured.
IDEA Dir. John Rogers will chair a panel of researchers and community organizers from Los Angeles, Chicago and Newark, N.J., that will discuss efforts to promote educational equity.
Rogers will also participate in a session about closing opportunity gaps. The Friday symposium, titled Closing the Opportunity Gap: What America Must Do to Give All Children an Even Chance,
- brings together scholars who will draw on their expertise to present a powerful and comprehensive picture in two key areas: how a series of opportunity gaps combines to undermine the life chances of children in vulnerable communities, and how sensible, research-based policy approaches can restore and enhance opportunities. The symposium will make a compelling case that American educational policy has veered dangerously toward the rocks due to an extreme focus on achievement gaps while neglecting opportunity gap.
Also presenting will be Marisa Saunders and Sophie Fanelli on successful strategies for the implementation of Linked Learning. Linked Learning (formerly known as Multiple Pathways) is an educational approach that prepares all students for college, career and civic participation and challenges prevailing patterns of school stratification. IDEA has conducted 10 case studies of schools and programs throughout the state that have either successfully implemented or are committed to Linked Learning. We will soon publish a guide on shared struggles and experiences that these 10 school sites encountered.
Not to be outdone is IDEA's Council of Youth Research that will participate in three sessions, including a two-hour interactive session specifically on the council's work. The students will also join youth researchers from San Francisco, Tucson and New Orleans to discuss their roles as "activist-scholars."
Friday, April 8
Closing the Opportunity Gap: What America Must Do to Give All Children an Even Chance
with John Rogers
Sheraton, Napoleon Ballroom C2
12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Toward a Grounded Pedagogy of Youth Civic Agency: A Comparative Analysis of Four Projects
with Council of Youth Research
Astor Crowne Plaza, Astor Ballroom III
12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Saturday, April 9
Youth Researching the State of Education in California and Educational Acts of Courage
with Ernest Morrell and Council of Youth Research
Sheraton, Napoleon Ballroom B2
4:05 p.m. to 6:05 p.m.
Sunday, April 10
Making Collaboration the Cornerstone of Linked Learning
with Marisa Saunders, Sophie Fanelli and IDEA graduate student researchers
New Orleans Marriott, La Galerie 2
8:15 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.
Monday, April 11
Making Education Matter: Youth, Teachers, Professors, and Community Organizers as Activist-Scholars
with Council of Youth Research
New Orleans Marriott, Mardi Gras Salon D/E
8:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
Powerful Ideas: A Conversation with Researchers and Community Organizers Working Together to Enhance the Public Good
with John Rogers
Sheraton, Napoleon Ballroom B3
12:25 p.m. to 1:55 p.m.
April 4: IDEA on KCRW's To the Point
Director John Rogers talks about how budget cuts will impact the U.S.'s ability to out-compete other nations.
Recently the U.K.'s Royal Society has reported that China has surpassed Great Britain in terms of scientific achievements and is on pace to overtake the United States within a couple years.
This was the main topic discussed on Monday's To the Point with Warren Olney. On "Can the US 'out-innovate and out-educate' the competition?," IDEA Director John Rogers was asked how budget cuts impact scientific achievement.
California, a center of scientific research, has also led the country in terms of drastic cuts to education spending over the years.
"We see science teachers in California, math and computer science teachers at the K-12 level being cut... in ways that'll have a long-term impact on the quality of science and technology in California and in the United States as a whole," Rogers said.
For the full discussion, listen online to To the Point.
An education exchange with Linda Darling-Hammond
A March 24 event at Stanford University brought together researchers, educators, civil rights activists and policy experts to discuss teacher quality
UCLA IDEA held an education exchange at Stanford University on March 24 to discuss teacher quality, especially in light of declining education spending and massive layoff notices. The exchange was co-sponsored by the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) and featured a presentation by SCOPE director Linda Darling-Hammond.
Below is an article from SCOPE's website on the event. For more information, or to view the presentations made by Darling-Hammond or IDEA Dir. John Rogers, click here.
Teaching Quality Partnerships: An Education Exchange Exploring How Teachers and Communities Work Together to Improve Teaching and Learning
Education organizers, civil rights advocates, researchers, educators, and policy experts gathered at Stanford to address the issues of teacher quality, in the context of a precipitous decline in resources in California's schools, especially those serving low-income and under-represented minority students.
On his way up to Stanford Thursday morning, John Rogers, director of UCLA’s Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access (IDEA), was racing around the house at the crack of dawn trying to find his backpack. After a while, the noise of his fruitless search woke his wife, who asked what the problem was. "I can't find my backpack," Rogers told her. "Oh," she said, "you mean the one on your back?"
And that, said Rogers, is exactly what is happening in the debate on teacher quality these days: Policymakers are looking for solutions everywhere but in the most obvious place. The country is approaching the challenges in education from the "old logic of scarcity," focusing on what's missing, rather than tapping into and improving on existing resources.
Rogers shared this story with attendees from across California who gathered on March 24 at Stanford University to attend an IDEA-sponsored meeting on teacher quality titled "Teaching Quality Partnerships: An Education Exchange Exploring How Teachers and Communities Work Together to Improve Teaching and Learning."
This Education Exchange, co-sponsored with SCOPE, focused on ways to support greater access to quality teaching for low-income students and students of color. Speakers included Rogers, SCOPE Co-Director Linda Darling-Hammond, Cristina Uribe of the National Education Association, Alex Caputo-Pearl and Khallid Al-Alim of the Coalition for Educational Justice, Roberta Furger from People Improving Communities through Organizing, and Liz Guillen of Public Advocates.
The meeting took place a week after some 19,000 California teachers received pink slips. This, Rogers said, at a time when the state, right now, would need an additional 104,000 teachers to equal the student to teacher ratio that prevails across the nation.
In her presentation, Darling-Hammond also noted that many of the current strategies being proposed to improve teaching are, in fact, unlikely to do so. In a context of unequal and dwindling resources for schools, efforts to reduce training for teachers and then fire those who are ineffective will increase the costs of high attrition and low achievement while expanding the achievement gap. She observed that countries leading the world in education achievement invest more than the U.S. in training and supporting teachers but spend less on education overall.
“We have the resources to solve the problems of inequity and low achievement,” she said, “we just aren't using them well.” "You can't fire your way to Finland; you can't fire your way to excellence," she noted, referring to one of the world's leading countries in educational achievement. "We should be talking less about who's going to get fired, and talking more about who is going to get hired and how to prepare and retain them and ensure that they are good teachers."
Darling-Hammond’s talk focused on how to create policies that will produce a strong and equitably distributed teaching force, as well as how to create new approaches to teacher evaluation that will support improvement and personnel decisions when struggling teachers do not improve.
Throughout the day, in presentations and small-group conversations, participants focused on developing strategies for advancing equitable distribution of high quality teachers, based on two goals set by Rogers: addressing the short-term political task of stemming the "free-falling decline in educational opportunities and educational funding," and engaging in an intellectual activity to "leave behind the logic of scarcity and to imagine a system that ensures high quality teachers for all students."
Education Exchanges are interactive meetings designed by UCLA IDEA to help build the capacity of education justice advocates to gain a deeper understanding of key topics and explore policy implications that increase opportunities for teaching and learning among low-income communities and communities of color. This Education Exchange on teacher quality was supported by generous grants from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the funders collaborative of Communities for Public Education Reform.
March 21: UCLA IDEA releases new Educational Opportunity Report
Free Fall: Educational Opportunities in 2011 details the falling learning conditions in California's public schools. This year's report includes data from a survey of about a quarter of the state's high school principals, along with follow-up interviews with a sample of those principals.
Here's the audio recording of the press teleconference, which included presentations by IDEA Director John Rogers, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and two school principals: Todd Ullah, from Washington Preparatory High School in LA Unified, and Paula Hanzel with Sacramento New Technology High in Sacramento City Unified.
Download Press Conference Audio ( Recorded on March 21, 2011)
Download Q&A Session Audio (Recorded on March 21, 2011)
Also available, are the PowerPoint slides from the presentation.
March 16: IDEA to release new Ed Opportunity Report next week
IDEA and UC/ACCORD will release the latest state Educational Opportunity Report on Monday, March 21 during a teleconference with state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.
Since 2006, UCLA IDEA and UC/ACCORD (All Campus Consortium on Research for Diversity) have released an annual report highlighting the conditions on California's diverse public schools.
This year's report, entitled Free Fall: Educational Opportunities in 2011, highlights the effects the budget cuts have had on high schools and on students. We surveyed almost a quarter of the state's high school principals and did follow-up interviews with 78 of them.
Overall, principals reported less time--through shorter school years, and reductions or eliminations in after-school and summer programs--and less attention to students because the cuts have increased the amount of students to teachers and counselors.
These cuts have impacted the students' progress through high school and ability to graduate and move onto a four-year college or university.
IDEA Director John Rogers will share the findings of the report at 11 a.m. during the March 21 conference call. Also joining him will be state Supt. Tom Torlakson and two high school principals.
Embargoed copies of the report will be available upon request on Thursday, March 17.
For more information, contact Claudia Bustamante, communications director, at 310-267-4408 or firstname.lastname@example.org
March 4: upcoming Council Youth Research presentation
Thirty-one CYR students present findings from yearlong research into the condition of their schools and education.
Students from five Los Angeles high schools will share their research findings and make recommendations to improve the quality of their education.
The students are members of UCLA IDEA's Council of Youth Research who have been investigating this issue for about eight months. It began with a summer seminar that focused on the 10th anniversary of Williams v. California, a class action lawsuit that was filed in 2000 and settled in 2004 to ensure all students have an adequate education.
The presentation will be held:
Friday, March 4
5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
UCLA Downtown Labor Center, located at 675 S. Park View St.
For more information, see the advisory online.
Feb. 8: New research questions LA Times value-added approach
The analysis the Los Angeles Times relied on to publish a series of stories and database of teacher effectiveness was inadequate, according to a report released today by the National Education Policy Center.
"Due Dilligence and the Evaluation of Teachers" published the findings of University of Colorado, Boulder researchers Derek Briggs and Ben Domingue, who used the same Los Angeles Unified School District data of elementary school teachers and students. In attempting to recreate the analysis that was conducted for the Times, the researchers found much variability.
The original analysis looked at student test scores in English Language Arts and mathematics. How much they improved from the previous year--"value added"--was attributed to the teacher. Positive growth and the teacher was considered "effective"; negative, not so. The Times ranked teachers on a five-point scale from "least effective" to "most effective."
Among NEPC new findings for reading scores:
- More than half of the teachers had a different effectiveness rating.
- 8.1 percent of teachers considered ineffective in the Times' model jumped to effective.
- 12.6 percent originally listed as effective were deemed ineffective in new model.
For the full report from IDEA's sister organization, visit nepc.colorado.edu
Feb. 2: Wikipedia's gender gap
IDEA researcher Jan Margolis speaks to NY Times about gender gaps in computer science
Wikipedia has a serious gender gap to overcome, the New York Times reported Sunday.
In Define Gender Gaps? Look up Wikipedia's Contributor List, the Times reported that a mere 13 percent of the hundreds of thousands of Wikipedia contributors are women. The disparity can be seen on the length and breath of entries that could appeal to girls and women versus men.
The Times wrote: "A topic generally restricted to teenage girls, like friendship bracelets, can seem short at four paragraphs when compared with lengthy articles on something boys might favor, like, toy soldiers or baseball cards, whose voluminous entry includes a detailed chronological history on the subject."
Wikipedia has set a goal to increase the number of female contributors to 25 percent by 2015.
IDEA Senior Researcher Jane Margolis said that what is happening at Wikipedia mirrors other environments were women are less likely to assert their opinions. "In almost every space, who are the authorities, the politicians, writers for op-ed pages?" Margolis was quoted.
She advocated recruiting women as groups to fields where they are under-represented so that "...a solitary woman does not face the burden alone."
Margolis studies segregation within learning environments; gender and race socialization in education; and how inequality is produced in our society. She has received several National Science Foundation grants and has built partnerships to address inequities within computer science education. She is the lead auther of two award-winning books: Stuck in the Shallow End: Education, Race, and Computing and Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing.
Council of Youth Research expanding reach
UCLA IDEA's Council of Youth Research has been busy the last few months. After a successful summer seminar when students from five Los Angeles urban high schools researched school conditions, the Council has spent the past few months expanding on that research.
Students from Crenshaw, Locke, Manual Arts, Roosevelt and Wilson high schools have continued to investigate the conditions at their schools and in their communities, using Williams v. California as a template. Williams was a class-action lawsuit settled in 2004 that guaranteed every student in California an adequate education.
In the next few months, the Council of Youth Research will present their yearly findings at the UCLA Labor Center. They will also travel to New Orleans for the annual American Educational Research Association conference, which brings together thousands of researchers to share their work.
Jan. 27: "Surviving the present"
IDEA Director John Rogers reaction to State of the Union
During an interview with COLORLINES, UCLA IDEA Director John Rogers commented on Pres. Obama's State of the Union address earlier this week. In particular, Rogers said in order to 'win the future' as the president would like, the country must first 'survive the present.'
Obama spent a good portion of his yearly speech discussing the importance of education to carry the country forward in coming years. Many education reform experts, like Rogers, agreed with that message but were concerned about what was left out, according to the article titled To "Win the Future," Kids and Schools Must Survive the Present. There was no mention of childhood poverty and how the current economic climate is affecting schools, families and students, he said.
Jan. 25: Parent Engagement presentation at first LAUSD task force meeting
A new Los Angeles Unified School District Parent Engagement Task Force held its first meeting Monday. The 28-member task force, headed by California Community Foundation President Antonia Hernandez, will make recommendations to the LAUSD Board of Education on how to increase parent involvement and improve student achievement.
UCLA IDEA faculty fellow Veronica Terriquez presented research on parent engagement during the meeting. Terriquez is currently an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Southern California.
Click image below to download her PowerPoint presentation.
Jan. 11: Uncertainty in education: 'Which Way, LA?' discusses
Radio guest John Rogers discussed the importance of increasing revenues not only for schools, but also social services.
The new year started off with uncertainty for public education--new leaders, new budgets... new taxes?
Less than two weeks into 2011, Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled a budget that spared K-12 education, but only with conditions. Brown also chose not to fill the Secretary of Education position and appointed seven new members to the state Board of Education. Locally, Los Angeles Unified board members voted on a new superintendent.
KCRW's Which Way, L.A.? on Tuesday discussed the importance and possible implications of these events. Featured on the show were IDEA Director John Rogers, LAUSD board members Steve Zimmer and Tamar Galatzan, former member Caprice Young and A.J. Duffy with United Teachers LA.
Brown's budget called for $12.5 billion in spending cuts and another $12 billion in modifications and extending taxes. Brown spared K-12 education from more cuts, but only if voters choose to extend temporary taxes set to expire this year.
Rogers, saying that Los Angeles public schools are facing the worst budget since the Great Depression, referred to the possible revenue as "critically important." Besides $2 billion in taxes for public education, other revenues would fund social welfare and public health programs.
"It's those programs that shape how young people are coming into the schools," he said. "We need young people coming into the schools healthy and ready to learn."
Also discussed was the appointment of John Deasy as LAUSD's new superintendent. Though some guests discussed the lack of an open, national search for the replacement of retiring Supt. Ramon Cortines, all said Deasy was a talented leader and could collaborate for system-wide district reform.
*To hear entire show, visit Which Way, L.A.? website.
Jan. 8: Bygone and back again: Lessons from late-'70s Brown
Dir. John Rogers quoted in Los Angeles Times story about the 'shakeup' of the state Board of Education, which included appointments from Gov. Brown's first term.
During his first week in office, Gov. Jerry Brown appointed seven new members to the state Board of Education, a move that replaced a number of charter school advocates for more policy-minded individuals with lengthy resumes.
Among the appointees were two people who served on the board during Brown's earlier terms as governor. Bill Honig, former state Superintendent of Public Instruction, withdrew his name from consideration Monday.
The other repeat appointment is Mike Kirst, a Stanford University professor who served from 1977 to 1982. According to the university's website, "while Kirst's early work focused primarily on K-12 policy and politics, much of his recent work has focused on college preparation and college success... Kirst's research demonstrates that only K-12 and postsecondary working together to improve preparation and college readiness will increase college completion."
IDEA Director John Rogers said that Brown's early choices--a willingness to revisit the past--are hopeful signs.
"Jerry Brown is trying to bring back the '70s and '80s to Sacramento, which raises some interesting possibilities but also some interesting challenges, because we're in such a different environment today in California than we were 30-plus years ago," Rogers said in the LA Times.
Thirty years ago, California kept pace with (and, at times, exceeded) the national average in per-pupil spending. Today, the state is outspent by an average of $2,500 per student. Thirty years ago, the disparities between the rich and the poor weren't as exasperated as they are today. Also, attending college was within greater grasp for qualified students because tuition was $300 plus fees instead of the more than $10,000 expected from UC undergraduates today.
For more on how California's landscape has changed and what lessons can be adopted from the past, read our Jan. 7 Themes, entitled To the Brown Administration: Adequate, Equitable, Rational School Funding.
Jan. 6: Parent Trigger in Point Loma?
Dir. John Rogers looks at Parent Trigger law.
Point Loma is not only a scenic, seaside community in San Diego, but also a place that doesn't lack in public engagement.
According to the Voice of San Diego, it is a "shining example of that community control, a humming network of parents, teachers and principals..."
However, similar to other communities statewide, some Point Loma parents also believe they do not have much influence over schools. That is why they have begun to look at options, including the new "parent trigger" law that allows a majority of parents at underperforming schools to overhaul them and implement drastic reform changes, such as replacing staff, firing principal, charter conversions or complete closures. Last month, parents at McKinley Elementary presented their petition to the Compton Unified School District.
Currently, none of the schools in Point Loma qualify for the parent trigger; however, there is a belief that Point Loma High could become eligible if it continues to miss federal No Child Left Behind benchmarks.
IDEA Director John Rogers spoke with the Voice of San Diego about the shortcomings of the parent trigger law. Who is in charge of a school and how it is governed is not nearly as important as what is taught and how during the current budget-slashing era, he said.
"I think there are times when it's critical to rethink who is in charge of schools...but I don't think this is one of those times," Rogers was quoted. "There are some fundamental concerns that need to be addressed: resources."
*For more information, read Public Enagement for Public Education: Joining Forces to Revitalize Democracy and Equalize Schools, a new book co-edited by Rogers.