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Top Education Stories of 2019

We bid a long goodbye to 2019’s education controversies with 10 Capital & Main stories that captured the year.

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Photo: Joanne Kim

1. The Los Angeles Teachers Strike

The year began with a teachers strike whose decisive victory by the United Teachers L.A. led to school district concessions on class-size reduction and on hiring more nurses, librarians and counselors. It also opened the door to a long-forestalled policy debate about the regulation of charter schools — both in Los Angeles and in California. Capital & Main’s reporting included team coverage led by “Learning Curves” columnist Bill Raden, a video diary by Marco Amador and a photo essay by Joanne Kim.

Bill Raden: “Perhaps the most remarkable, albeit symbolic win by United Teachers LA negotiators, was to persuade Los Angeles schools superintendent Austin Beutner to put a resolution for a charter school cap to a vote at the city’s next school board meeting.”

2. L.A. Charters Suspend Black and Disabled Students at Higher Rates

Robin Urevich: “Los Angeles charters suspended black students at almost three times the rate of traditional schools; students with disabilities were suspended at nearly four times the non-charter school rate.”

3. Have West Sacramento Charters Become Self-Segregated Enclaves? (Part of the Grading Charter Schools series)

 Bill Raden: “Borders, boundaries and barriers have been a way of life in the lower Sacramento Valley since the Gold Rush days. The newest form of green line here is charter schools.”

4. Referrals of Students to Police Are Still a Problem at L.A. Schools

Robin Urevich: “Restorative justice remains a new way of thinking for Los Angeles’ 1,300 public schools — even as administrators continue to call the cops on troublesome students.”

5. Jackie Goldberg Explains the Coming War to Save Public Education

Alex Demyanenko: “After winning a Los Angeles school board seat, Goldberg spoke about charter schools, money and what it means to fight the good fight.”

6. Tipping Points: Are Charter Schools Oversaturating Their Markets?

Larry Buhl: “Studies have found charter school glut and hyper-competition in many neighborhoods.”

7. California Ramps Up College Education Behind Bars

Gabriel Thompson: “Prisons have been called universities of crime. What if they became, instead, actual universities?”

8. When Charter Schools Fail, Parents Are Left Scrambling

Larry Buhl: “There has been no shortage of charter school failures in California, and the rate of abrupt school closures is very high across the nation.”

9. A Charter School Co-Location Debacle

charter schoolsJoe Rihn: “Armed with a state override of its rejected application, San Jose’s Promise Academy filed a new request. Then came the lawsuits.”

10. Is LAUSD Crying Wolf With Its Claims of Financial Distress?

Bill Raden: “Persistent claims of poverty by Los Angeles’ public school district have been the most contentious issue separating it and the teachers union.”

Photo credits: Joanne Kim (top image); Bill Raden (Nos. 2, 3 & 5); California Correctional Institution (No. 7); San Jose Unified School District (No. 9); Bobbi Murray (No. 10).


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