Category Archives: Education

Kids Returning to School: What You Need to Know

LA county is the second largest school district in America.  Hundreds of thousands of kids returned to school two weeks ago within the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic. As such, the county is undertaking an extensive public health experiment whereby each student, teacher and school staff member have to get tested for Covid every week with no end in sight, regardless of vaccination status. Those who test positive stay home for at least 10 days.

Already by the end of the second week, LA Unified was reporting almost 3,000 active positive cases in their student and staff body, despite the fact that out of that only 7 cases were linked within the school setting. So no matter how hard everyone tries, it is very tough to keep it out.

With such difficulties, we have to look at the good that remains.  There are still many organizations trying to help others – which is needed even more at this time.  One example is the L.A. Education Recovery Fund which funded summer programs as well as important after- school programs run by dozens of L.A.-based nonprofits, including Woodcraft Rangers, LA’s Best, the YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club. These programs benefit more than 30,000 children (and their parents), many of whom come from underprivileged families. To date, $10m has been raised in capital by the organization and it hopes that it will add more programs in the fall.  

Another initiative is LA Tech Cares which has raised $200,000 for the LA Education Recovery Fund. LA county’s poverty rate is one of the highest in the state of California. The fact that venture capitalists did not struggle so much in the pandemic made raising the money much easier, according to one of LA Tech Cares’ founders and Crosscut Ventures Managing Director Brett Brewer.

Success of Granada Hills Charter School

When students have good teachers and work hard, it pays off.  This was evidenced with the third consecutive win of the national Academic Decathlon by San Fernando Valley’s Granada Hills Charter School. Not only that, but there has only been one year (out of the last seventh) that the school has not taken home the trophy.

Perhaps this should not come as such a surprise given the fact that according to Wiki, its Performance Index is 878, substantially higher than the 800 target API score for Californian schools.

On this year’s topic of World War II, the nine-student team scored a staggering 54,507 out of 60,000 points which their coaches attributed to “hard work and dedication.” But it’s also schooling and the teachers should take pride in this achievement as well.   As school Executive Director (who has been a staff member for 17 years), Brian Bauer said the win should be put down to a combination of “powerful teaching” and “[student] perseverance and grit.”

We’ve heard for a while that charter schools in New York are extremely successful, but there has not been as much data on their Californian counterparts.  Success of the Granada Hills Charter School in this as in other recognitions (being named a 2011 California Distinguished School) is a good indicator of the same going on across the nation.  Indeed, knowing that charter schools are good is especially important for LA given that it is has more of them than any other place throughout the United States, with one-in-five located in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).  In addition, it has been found that these schools are making substantial efforts to “close the achievement gap” in the region which is clearly happening with Granada as an example.